"A Midsummer Night's Dream" Good so Long as it Stays Pure; "A Son Comes Home" Well-Acted
"A Midsummer Night's Dream" makes the pretentious effort of visualizing for the spectator what William Shakespeare expected him to imagine. There are undoubtedly those who would object to the change of intellectual grounds, considering it a sin to keep the bard from being hard. But Max Reinhardt must be allowed a high degree of success in just what he attempted: catching the aery unreality of the dream.
Not quite so commendable, however, are the additions made in the process of translation. A great quantity of extraneous beings: gnomes, bat-like men out of the funny papers, rubber-skinned monsters, all thrust in their grimacing faces and do their bits. One feels that they ought either to be Shakespearean or original, and it is just a little jarring to see the rubber men do a kind of Apache dance with the faerles, and then disappear in a manner so unnatural even for a fantasy that the brainless noisemaker behind us was led to comment, "I know how it's done. It's trick photography."
The asininities of James Cagney as Bottom, and Joe E. Brown and Hugh Herbert as two of his dramatic colleagues, are truly asinine, and therefore far superior to the formalized, cut and dried nonsense one is used to seeing.