Shakespeare's immortal King Lear comes to the screen in this ambitious 1916 Tanhauser Production headlined by Frederick Warde as the mad king. Born in England in 1851, Warde was a leading Shakespearean actor in New York by the 1870s. At age 61 he starred in the film The Life And Death Of King Richard III and would make appearances in theaters where it was being screened, reciting monologues to the audience between reels.
Taken in by flattery, aging King Lear divides his kingdom between his greedy, scheming daughters Goneril and Regan, while completely cutting off his youngest, Cordelia, the only one that really loves him. Shortly after relinquishing power, his ungrateful daughters completely cast the old king out, banishing him. King Lear loses his mind, left to wander the fields a lunatic, abandoned by all but his loyal jester. Cordelia, who has since married the King of France, learns of her father's fate and raises an army to rescue and avenge him.
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