Drawing on Shakespeare since the earliest days of silent cinema, America has only occasionally fared well with orthodox screen adaptations of Shakespeare. Instead, Hollywood has succeeded more with Shakespeare when being playful, inserting his stories into musicals (Kiss Me Kate), westerns (Yellow Sky) and science fiction (Forbidden Planet) or borrowing plots and characters to underpin contemporary stories (The Lion King, 10 Things I Hate About You) – although notable exceptions include the independent cinema masterpieces of Orson Welles and contemporary retoolings by the likes of Gus Van Sant (1991’s My Own Private Idaho) and Australian Baz Luhrmann in 1996’s Romeo & Juliet.

In this lavishly illustrated talk, Wootton plots this chequered history and tells the tales behind the making of the most notable movies.

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