This film is part of Free

Oh'phelia A Cartoon Burlesque

To bob, or not to bob? That is the question for Ophelia in this early animated Hamlet, starring a far from gloomy Dane

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1919 10 mins Silent


Part Shakespeare, part panto, this animated comedy seeks to put a smile on the gloomy Dane's face. One of a series of Shakespeare parodies, Anson Dyer's cartoon burlesques got rave reviews in the trade press of the time, with the Pall Mall Gazette proclaiming that the films offered "Fifteen minutes of unalloyed joy" and were "the caviar of the film trade".

Anson Dyer worked as a stained glass window artist until 1915, when at the age of 40 he began producing lightning sketch propaganda films. By the end of WWI, Dyer was one of a very small handful of key figures in the fledgling British animation industry. His reputation earned him the backing of Cecil Hepworth, pioneer director and producer and one of the biggest figures in British cinema of the time. Sadly, competition from American cartoons (along with Hepworth's bankruptcy) made British animation an unprofitable business, and by the late 1920s Dyer had moved away from filmmaking. He returned with a new cel animation studio in 1935, though, and managed to continue in the business into the 1950s.