In the early decades of the twentieth century, at the moment when the stage had widely restored Shakespeare’s texts and when actors such as Sir Henry Irving were finally perceived as legitimate enough to be awarded a knighthood, a fresh threat emerged to this newly sanctified mode of representation. Suddenly in the new palladium of pleasure that was the picture house, a paying audience could dispense with the live actor entirely. As one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, it was a small matter of time before Richard III made the leap from stage to screen. This chapter offers brief introductions to each of the six twentieth-century versions of the play most widely available to the viewer.
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