An update to Shakespeare's play, this version is set in 1939, just before World War II. In keeping with the era, the film features newsreel-style inserts to set the scene and advance the plot. And in true Hollywood tradition, it is also a fully-fledged musical, with modern song-and-dance routines interrupting the classical dialogue. The plot revolves around the king of Navarre, who, together with three colleagues, resolves to dedicate himself to three years of study with serious restrictions, the worst being ''no women''. The arrival of the Princess of France and three ladies in waiting immediately disrupts this plan, and the rest of the movie is how the guys try to pursue the ladies without getting caught. As usual for Shakespeare, there is a clown or two to gum up the works...
93 minutes, All ages
Comedy, Musical, Romance, On the Art Circuit
Ian Douglas: As is nowadays fashionable for filmed Shakespeare, the makers went to a lot of trouble to make the production more accessible to modern audiences. While retaining the original dialogue, the setting, costumes, and staging are all modernised. The use of newsreels and musical routines was also a first for me in a Shakespearian play. I did find the plot rather lightweight, with the trademark Shakespearian unneccessary complications, but it will still provide pleasant entertainment for an older audience.