Thursday September 05, 2013
What Shaw Thought Shakespeare Would Have Thought of Chaplin
In 1919, William Bridges Adams was appointed director of the Stratford-on-Avon Shakespeare Festival and pushed to use the theater for film as well as plays. Controversy ensued. George Bernard Shaw weighed in thus, as recounted in “Bernard Shaw on Cinema,” edited by Prof. Emeritus Bernard F DuKore:
In my opinion the Governors of Statford Memorial Theatre have acted very sensibly in resolving to sue the theatre for the art of the cinema instead of leaving it to eat its head off or harbor casual touring companies or strolling entertainers, very few of whom provide as edifying an entertainment as a well-conducted cinema theater with a good orchestra. There is nothing wrong with the cinema that is not equally wrong with the theater; and until Mr. Bridges Adams brought genuine Shakespear performances to Stratford the so-called performances of Shakespear's plays there were a far grosser insult to his art, his authority, and his memory than the films of Mr. Chaplin, in whom Shakespear would have been delighted.
And why leave off the “e” in Shakespeare's name? Short answer here.
Chaplin and Shaw hanging with British Airwoman Amy Johnson and Lady Nancy Astor in 1931. (Shakespeare not pictured.)