# Similar Movies Like Prince of Players
Prince of Players 1955
About: Prince of Users is a biographical movie about the 19th century American actor Edwin Booth.
Released: 24 Jun 1955 Director: Philip Dunne Writers: Moss Hart, Eleanor Ruggles (book) Actors: Richard Burton, Maggie McNamara, John Derek, Raymond Massey Genres: Biography, Drama
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Prince of Players Reviews:

I first saw this when I was in high school and thinking of becoming an actor. Burton's performance and the film's highly romantic vision of Booth as the brooding "natural" Hamlet hooked me. Although it has the outlines of a typical biopic, The Prince of Users offers an extraordinary display of the type of acting that, at its best, dominated the 19th century stage. Burton was one of the several 20th century artists who knew how to balance a ringing declamatory style with honest, full bodied emotions. It is so various from the typical modern understatement that some audience won't be able to adjust to it. But for those who relish language along with fire in the blood, this is as nice as it gets on film. The portrait of the actor Edwin Booth, a boy overburdened with the cares of the world, as impetuous, self-indulgent, and nearly batty, is a bit overheated. But it's a typical view of the artist in the angry tradition of Poe. Very 19th Century--and well worth knowing.


Richard Burton plays Edwin Booth in "Prince of Players," also starring Raymond Massey, John Derek, Maggie McNamara, and Charles Bickford.The storyline takes us through the young Edwin growing up, traveling with his popular actor father, and at times standing in for him. Eventually he himself becomes a nice actor, and in fact, was known as the best Hamlet of his day. But private tragedy strikes in his marriage and in his brother John's assassination of President Lincoln.John Derek makes a dashing John Wilkes Booth, handsome and charismatic. Massey, a boy who played Lincoln on movie and recording as well, is the elder Booth and is perfect as the flamboyant drunkard. And it's unbelievable to hear him recite Shakespeare."Prince of Players" was a showcase for Richard Burton. In 1955, when this movie was released, he was young, handsome, and extremely romantic looking. Classically trained, he possessed, as he everytime did, a superb voice and a nice talent. To hear his Shakespearean recitation in this movie is a true treat, and there is a lot of it, including Hamlet, Richard III, and Romeo & Juliet. Sadly, Burton came from a terrible Welsh family and never got over it. In pursuing film money, he took roles in mediocre movies and did very tiny scene work, though he shined in "Camelot" and "Equus." His last Broadway appearance, shortly before his death, was a disastrous "Private Lives" with his ex-wife Elizabeth Taylor. His fans, however, select to remember this sweet and charming person as a glorious Prince Hal in Henry IV and as Hamlet. How unbelievable that movie audiences can hear his bonuses forever in "Prince of Players."


Except for the 1937 John Ford movie, THE PRISONER OF SHARK ISLAND, this movie is the most centered on the storyline of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. But that said, it misses the effectiveness of being definitive like Stone's interesting (if flawed) JFK. The movie is based on Eleanor Ruggles biography (of the same name) of Edwin Booth's career. So the central figure is Edwin, probably the best American actor of the 19th Century. Richard Burton, as a growing Shakespearean actor, was excellent as the talented Edwin. His father, the talented but eccentric and alcoholic Junius Brutus Booth Sr, is played by Raymond Massey (ironically the same actor who played Lincoln in ABE LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS, and John Brown in SANTA FE TRAIL and SEVEN ANGRY MEN). As the egotistical John Wilkes Booth we have the young, still promising John Derek.The film only goes from 1852 (when Junius Booth died) through 1866, when the American public showed Edwin Booth that it did not keep him or his family guilty for the stupid, vicious act of his brother. It does not carry the storyline down to Booth's death in 1893, with his success as the definitive Hamlet of his age, and his failure as a theatrical producer. Edwin Booth worked until about 1891, due to the debts he accumulated. But his last years were stable, with his second wife. He also found time to make the Player's Club (still located in his Gramercy Park brownstone). Only the tragedy of the President's death at his brother's hands left a really brutal tag on him.Derek does the most with his role - showing the powerful desire for "real fame" that took control over John Wilkes. As his hero kills the hero played by Massey in one film, he ironically also attends the hanging of John Brown - historically correct. But his intricate plot to first kidnap Lincoln and then slay him, and his relations with another conspirators is not really gone into. Still, the assassination, chase, capture, and death of the killer are done fairly correctly. But to receive the tone of the government's prosecution of the conspirators, see John Ford's film.



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