–So to get my annual Hamlet fix I went else where, to see quite a different sort of Hamlet: A silent, female one: Asta Nielsen as Hamlet in the 1921 silent film version of the classical play. It was my first experience with Shakespeare as a silent film and I’m not sure I would recommend it. As much as I love Shakespeare’s plays in different versions and performances, it just doesn’t seem right when we don’t hear the words. The piano playing that accompanied it almost made it hard to stay awake for this 2 hour film.
The idea of Hamlet as a woman seemed in this film seems a bit of an excuse to get the great Asta Nielsen to play such a famous role. It wasn’t really used to explore any other aspects of the play or the characters, which I think was too bad. Asta, I should emphasise, really delivered a stunning performance and was not as accidentally funny as the rest of the cast was. The extremely exaggerated death scenes of both Gertrude and Claudius become really funny and comic relief-like.
So after such a heavy Shakespearian experience, Nerd Girl needed something to pick her up. So what could be better than an ‘After Shakespeare mint’? I’m sure they were invented especially for such an evening.