Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Richard II (1954, George Schaefer)

TitleRichard II
Release LocationsUSA
DirectorGeorge Schaefer
MediumBlack & white video
Length2 hrs
Audiencegeneral public
Play ConnectionsRichard II (teleplay)
SeriesHallmark Hall of Fame


One of the several Hallmark greeting cards productions of Shakespeare (for other Shakespeare programs in the Hallmark series, see 102, 126, 305, 309, 593, 594, 613, and 649). This one was broadcast "live" on television to 55 cities. The risks and perils of going "live" before a tv camera added to the charms of that genre by making it almost as much a theatrical as a cinematic event. The entire production cost $175,000 of which a major share went into 2500 hours needed for construction of the sets. The copy that remains in the Folger is a videotape of a Kinescope recording ("Kinescope" recordings, crude black-and-white records of productions, were made largely for legal purposes.) The Folger copy is listed as having "audio problems." In an interview, Mr. Evans revealed that the face of King Richard's corpse in the coffin at the end of the play was actually a bronze bust of Mr. Evans as Hamlet, a bizarre touch ("Maurice Evans Stars [w. still]." NYT 24 Jan. 1954: X 13)

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

King RichardMaurice Evans
John Of GauntFrederick Worlock
BolingbrokeKent Smith
AumerleMorton Da Costa
MowbrayBruce Gordon
NorthumberlandLouis Hector
ExtonJonathan Harris
QueenSarah Churchill
YorkRichard Purdy

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorGeorge Schaefer
ProducerMaurice Evans
ProducerAlbert McCleery
ComposerHerbert Menges
ConductorWilliam Brooks
ProductionRichard Sylbert
ProductionNoel Taylor

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell