A Mid Summer Night’s Dream Film AnalysisA Mid Summer Night’s Dream Film AnalysisA Mid summer Night’s Dream is another entry into Shakespeare’s recent rebirth on film. Michael Hoffman’s film dose not stay true to the text, but he must take liberties to allow for this classic story to be entertaining to today’s audience. In this essay I will discuss the differences between the text vision and the film vision of this story from the historical setting, the time placement, Hoffman’s personal adaptations, and finally Hoffman’s character adaptations.
In Michael Hoffman’s film of William Shakespeare’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hoffman has made some changes to the location and historical aspects of the play. Shakespeare drew upon classical mythology, English literature, English folklore and contemporary English life. So Hoffman had to try his best to update it to today’s views on mythology, folklore, and life. Hoffman’s film is set in Italy, instead of Greece like in the text. Hoffman may have chosen Italy instead of Greece, because Italy overall has a universal romantic feel to it. Also Hoffman may have chosen Italy because it is much more well know to the general moviegoers. Unlike today, in Shakespeare’s time Greece was the center of classical history, and would be know to most of the people of his day. Hoffman did include a Greek theme when he invented the town of Monte Athena located in Tuscany. The town is made-up but still connects the text with Hoffman’s film. For the parts of the movie that would be filmed in the woods, they had the filming done indoors at a studio. They would need room to maneuver people and cameras, so the real outdoors would not do. The director would not have to deal with the weather, or having enough sun light. Also the indoor setting in allowed the fairies to observe the morals, in a believable setting. So now that I have show you the setting of the film, let me show you how time was a factor in Hoffman film. In Michael Hoffman’s film the play took place in the turn of the century. Telling the story using the costumes of Shakespeare’s day would have alienated the viewer of the film. Also modern clothes would jar the mood, so the actors were costumed in clothes of the 1900’s. The turn of the century was far enough back to support romance views yet close enough so that the suits and dresses looked something like our clothes, and would feel comfortable to us. Unlike other films that copied the plot of Shakespeare’s work, but did not use Shakespearean language. For example, the film 10 things I hate about you that is a modern version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrews. Hoffman’s film follows the Shakespearean format, just like the last few Shakespearean films: Othello, Much Ado about Nothing, etc. In a historical context it was the middle of the suffrage movement. So the woman of the time were more independent then in Shakespeare’s day. Also in Michael Hoffman’s film the used bicycles as a form of transporting. The bicycle was a new invention that would allow anyone the freedom of movement. It was a liberating experience that was expressed by the main charters in the film. So now that I have shown you how time was a factor in Hoffman’s film. Let me show you how Hoffman adapted the play to his liking. In Michael Hoffman’s adaptation of the play many of the long speeches were shortened or left out. It is possible that Hoffman had to get the film in a two-hour time frame that most modern film fit into. Any longer and filmgoers would get bored, and restless. Usually large audiences see ether the film version or the stage version of A Mid Summer Night Dream. While the film is seen on the screen, the play is seen in real time, live. Although in the feel version Hoffman had the ability to use special effects to display he view on how the magic would look like, instead of walking off stage. Hoffman added a character of Nick Bottom’s wife. She had only a few lines, in which all were in Italian. Also Nick Bottom’s wife