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King Lear

This silent Shakespeare adaptation features some impressive effects, including a storm scene evoked by scratches into the film itself.

Period drama 1909 13 mins Silent


Vitagraph’s film of King Lear may not be as successful as its contemporaneous Italian cousin from 1910, attempting to cram in too much of the play for its brief running time. But the film still contains some interesting effects, such as the storm that’s suggested by ragged scratchings into the film itself.

Despite its shortcomings the film has a certain wild vigour that harks back to nineteenth-century melodramatic conventions. The version presented here is from a German release print with intertitles that are unfortunately untranslated.