Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Twelfth Night (1950)

TitleTwelfth Night
Release LocationsGB
Length1 hrs, 45 mins
Play ConnectionsTwelfth Night (teleplay)


Either by sensitivity to the Anglican liturgical calendar or by happy coincidence, the BBC scheduled Shakespeare's Twelfth Night for the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6), the day after Twelfth Night. Despite the title, the play alludes only indirectly to its namesake. Even these good intentions, however, could not rescue it from negative reactions within the BBC establishment. One executive thought that the director had removed "all the fun and sparkle" from the play, and another remarked that the casting was "dull" and the tempo "slow." Perhaps comedy was not Mr. Clayton's forte for previously he had directed a successful Antigone on television. It is also possible that Mr. Clayton wanted to privilege the sombre side of the play, its identification with Twelfth Night and the Feast of the Epiphany. It's a play, after all, that is set in a context of mourning for the death of Olivia's brother. Because the recording is lost, however, we will never have an opportunity to see if Mr. Clayton's production was justly evaluated or simply misunderstood (WAC T5/547 7 Jan. 1950)

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

ViolaBarbara Lott
OrsinoTerence Morgan
OliviaPatricia Kneale
FesteJohn Gatrell
Sir Toby BelchMichael Logan
Sir Andrew AguecheekStuart Latham
MalvolioGeoffrey Dunn
FabianPeter Bennett
MariaJessie Evans
SebastianMichael Redington
AntonioRobert Sansom
Sea CaptainPaul Stephenson
ValentineJohn Biggerstaff
CurioDonald Tandy
PriestMaurice Jones
Second OfficerPeter Rennie
First OfficerGerald Sim

Production Team and Crew Overview

ProducerHarold Clayton
ComposerEric Robinson
ScreenplayRobert Atkins
ProductionBarry Learoyd

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell