Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935)

In this romantic/fantasy comedy adapted from Shakespeare's play of the same name, co-directed by William Dieterle and Max Reinhardt:

  • in the opening sequence, beautiful, shimmering fairies appeared in the forest mist, ran through the woods with ballet-like moves, and ascended into the moonlit sky
  • the central event in the film surrounded the festivities of the wedding of Theseus, the Duke of Athens (Ian Hunter) to Queen of the Amazons Hippolyta (Verree Teasdale). Tradesmen were rehearsing a ludicrous dramatic play titled Pyramus and Thisbe (a play-within-a-play, or film-within-a-film) to be presented at the wedding celebration
  • the tale became one of a battle or argument between two Fairies - King of the Fairies Oberon (Victor Jory) and disobedient Queen of the Fairies Titania (Anita Louise) of the Fairies, leading to their estrangement
  • during various escapades, Oberon applied a love-potion from a flower onto the eyelids of a sleeping Titania - hoping that she would fall in love with the first creature to see her upon awakening: ("Be as thou wast wont to be, See as thou wast wont to see, Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower Hath such force and blessed power, My Titania, my sweet queen, now awake") - her eyes happened to fall on Nick Bottom (James Cagney), one of the amateur dramatists (playing the role of Pyramus), who had been turned into a donkey
  • there were further misadventures of two couples (four young lovers) who were also confused and bedazzled by meddlesome interventions
  • the two young men in the couples, Lysander (Dick Powell) and Demetrius (Ross Alexander) both loved Hermia (Olivia de Havilland); Oberon's mischievous young page or elf Puck (Mickey Rooney) came upon the sleeping bodies of both Lysander (mistaken for Demetrius) and Hermia, and applied his love potion: ("This is he, my master said. Despised of the Athenian maid. And here's the maiden, sleeping sound. On the damp and dirty ground. Pretty soul. She dares not lie near this lack-love. Fool. Fool, upon thy eyes I throw All the power this charm doth hold When thou wak'st, let love forbid Sleep his seat on thy eyelid So awake when I am gone For I must go to Oberon"); the love potion changed Lysander's love toward Helena (Jane Muir) who was actually in love with Demetrius. When the sleeping Lysander was awakened by Helena, he immediately fell in love with her. Puck was reprimanded by Oberon for mistaking Lysander for Demetrius, and applying the 'love-juice' to the eyes of Lysander instead of Demetrius: ("What has't thou done? Thou has't mistaken quite. And laid the love juice on some true love's sight")
  • later, the intervening fairies changed Lysander's love back to Hermia, so that both couples would be with their true love - to marry on the same day as the Duke's wedding to Hippolyta; the happy couples who wed were Lysander with Hermia, and Demetrius with Helena
  • the Pyramus and Thisbe play-within-a-play (or film-within-a-film) sequence during the wedding was performed by Bottom and his fellow actors
Oberon's Young Elf Puck (Mickey Rooney)
  • the final line, spoken in a farewell soliloquy or epilogue by Puck (at the Duke's bedroom door) suggested that everything seen before was a 'slumber'd' dream, after which he bowed and the word "Finis" appeared: ("If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended. That you have but slumber'd here while these visions did appear. And this weak and idle theme, no more yielding but to dream. Gentles, do not reprehend, if you pardon, we will mend. Else the Puck, a liar call, so good night unto you all. Give me your hands, if we be friends and Robin shall restore amends!")

The Shimmering Forest

Dancing Fairies

Oberon with Sleeping Titania


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