Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Cardinal Wolsey (1912, Laurence Trimble)

TitleCardinal Wolsey
Release LocationsUSA
DirectorLaurence Trimble
MediumBlack & white video
Length10 mins
Audiencegeneral public
Play ConnectionsKing Henry VIII (derivative)


One of the silent Shakespeare films made in the Brooklyn studios of the Vitagraph Company at the dawn of the motion picture era. Mostly one-reelers, about ten-minutes in length, the films often showed a good grasp of film grammar, though at other times the actors were photographed pretty much as though the camera were nailed to a tenth-row orchestra seat in a theatre. J. Stuart Blackton developed a keen interest in the advancement of motion picture techniques. Vitagraph's interest in Shakespeare may also have stemmed from the fact that the Bard's works were in the public domain. There was no fear of copyright suits from irate, living authors, such as Lew Wallace, who sued a film company over the rights to Ben Hur

Description from Shakespeare on Screen : an International Filmography and Videography by Kenneth S. Rothwell and Annabelle Henkin Melzer. ©1990 Kenneth S. Rothwell. Cited by permission. — Added 2008-11-14

Cast Overview

SecretaryRobert Gaillard
CatherineJulia Swayne Gordon
Henry VIIITefft Johnson
CanterburyLogan Paul
Wolsey?Hal Reid
CourtierHarold Wilson
Anne BoleynClara Kimball Young

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorLaurence Trimble
Adaptor/TranslatorHal Reid

Company Overview

Producer Vitagraph

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell