Comparing Two Film Versions of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
The two films we have been asked to compare are both different
'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. The first was a big screen
movie, by Michael Hoffman and made in 1998. This film was set in the
19th Century in the fictional city of Monte Athena and starred major
actors and actresses such as Sophie Marceau, Kelvin Klein, Rupert
Everett and Calista Flockhart. The second was a budget film made for
channel 4 by Royal Shakespeare Company. Adrian Noble was the producer
and the film was made in 1994. It was much more surrealistic because
this version of the film was based on a young boy's dream.
The biggest difference between the two film is the setting and place.
The Hoffman film was filmed in Umbria, Italy, but the actual film was
set in the fictional city of Monte Athena. It is a very naturalistic
setting, and the scenes are very pretty. The fairy world is darker and
more mythical, and the ruined buildings make it look fantastic.
Nobles production shows a very bare stage, with very little
decoration, and only the bare minimum of props.
Lighting and Colour
In any film, lighting and colour are very important, as film is mainly
a visual form of media. In film A (By Dustin Hoffmann), the colours
are very naturalistic. They make use of pastel colours and scenic
shots. It has a sort of fantasy world quality.
In the fairy world of film A, there are mainly dark colours, while the
fairy's clothes were bright, or, the fairies were represented as
pinpricks of light. It makes it seem almost exotic. The clothing of
the characters was very bight, contrasting with the dark backdrop.
In film B (by Adrian Noble), used even darker colours for the fairy
world. The actual fairy world was filled with light bulbs, and it was
a mostly blue-black backdrop. The only light seemed to be focused on
the characters on stage. In the human world, Noble uses different
colours to show different colours in different rooms. For instance, he
used blue to show springtime, or when the male characters are being
unfaithful. Black, to show evil, red to show dram and sex, e.g. the
scene where Titania lures bottom in to her bower, the bed, cushions
and blankets are all red. He also uses yellow and orange to show a
play within a play. In the film, different rooms are painted these
different colours to show the mood within the room. However, the
fairy's clothes are very bright, and make the fairy world look a
little brighter. Each of the fairies seems to have a different outfit,
based on one colour, but Oberon has very dark clothes.
In a film, the producer or director has many opportunities to use a
variety of camera angles. In film A, even before any words are spoken,