Film version of Shakespeare's comedy of a young woman who disguises herself as a man to win the attention of the one she loves.
Elizabeth Bergner looks something akin to "Peter Pan" stuck in the headlights of an approaching armoured car in this really rather dry interpretation of one of William Shakespeare's lighter comedies. In theory, the cast ought to have been able to deliver far better than they did - and that seems largely down to Paul Czinner's character prioritisation. Anyone who reads the bard's work will realise that the "Fool" is always a crucial character for the narrative and the humour. "Touchstone" (played here competently by Mackenzie Ward) seems to be on the clock the whole time. His lines are delivered pell mell without leaving us the chance to absorb the wit, subtlety - and the information - contained in his lines. This really starves us of much of the nuance and fun, frankly, of the piece. What we are left with is Olivier being, well, Olivier - big eyes and grand gestures with pitch perfect delivery and all the emotion of a coal sack; and Felix Aylmer taking the imperious role of "Frederick" from the stage and making no real effort to adapt it at all for the cinema. The production whistles along with fine attention to the costumes and sets and I did quite like the epilogue - but that may have just been relief. A bit like "A Midsummer Night's Dream" - some things belong on the medium for which they were originally conceived. This, I'd say, is one such example.