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12 years ago

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12 years ago

Don't know if you are familiar with Ludwig's SHAKESPEARE IN HOLLYWOOD. When I heard about the concept – the "real" Oberon and Puck somehow get transported to Hollywood and end up in the film – I thought it would be brilliant! No so much. Very, very disappointing – pretty much a boatload of missed opportunities. Too bad.

12 years ago

As you know, I love this film – even its quirky excesses. I may be in the minority, but I even love Mickey Rooney, even at his most annoying. If I were to close my eyes and picture the perfect Puck, Mickey's image would be right there. Oh, sure, I love a sexy Stanley Tucci, but having a Puck who is hotter than Oberon sort of throws things out of balance for me!

The list of original casting choices has left my mind reeling! Of course, Barrymore would have made a wonderful Oberon, but there is a frightening intensity to Victor Jory's performance that cannot be resisted. There is one name that jumps out…Myrna Loy. Hmmmmm, I wonder. But it made me think that who I'd really love to have seen play Helena is Jean Arthur.

And I have to disagree with you on one point. I don't think that James Cagney is miscast. In fact, it seems to me that Reinhardt, purposefully or not, got it just right. Why should Bottom be a big, slow witted lout? The other mechanicals think he is the world's greatest actor, even if he is a thorn in the side of his director. And he thinks so himself. He is pure ham – cocky, hyper and totally full of himself. One of the reasons that Nick Bottom is an ass is that when faced with the most exquisite woman in the world who is giving herself to him in no uncertain terms, all he can think about is getting his head scratched and thinking up clever comebacks to Peaseblossom et. al. He's a self-deluded fool who stinks with authority. I loved Cagney's take on the role which also allowed for the wonderful contrast between him and Joe E. Brown.

I think you should write the book!!