PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Oct. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- England is aghast. Newspapers are aflame with blazing headlines. And Shakespeare's statue in Stratford has been covered.
All because a new movie has claimed Shakespeare was a fraud.
"Anonymous," the new film released Friday by Sony Pictures and directed by Roland Emmerich (director of disaster movies like "2012" and "Independence Day") has ordained a controversy the likes of which moviedom hasn't seen in decades.
The argument is based on the centuries-old conspiracy theory that the actor Shakespeare was not the playwright Shakespeare.
The Los Angeles Times wrote, "'Anonymous' is the unkindest cut of all for Shakespearean scholars."
The review in The New York Times stated, "'Anonymous' ... is a travesty of British history."
One week before the movie's release, the numbers of screens showing the film was reduced from 2,500 down to 250.
The claim of fraud, however, has always had powerful supporters, like Sigmund Freud, Mark Twain, and prominent Shakespearean actors.
Although many historians believe that the actor did not write those works, they disagree on who did write them. "Anonymous" purports it was Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. But many names have been tossed around: Ben Johnson, Francis Bacon, and even Queen Elizabeth.
One of the criticisms of the film is that it is not historically factual. But a second film on the same subject, presently being prepared in Winnipeg, Canada, claims to correct that - purporting that every recorded fact or person named in this upcoming movie is historically accurate.
It's entitled "The Shakespeare Conspiracy," independently produced by the Motion Picture Hall of Fame Corporation and Barone Films, taken from the novel of the same name, by Ted Bacino, published by AuthorHouse Publishing (http://www.TheShakespeareConspiracy.com).
This film contends that Christopher Marlowe was the actual author. For years scholars have noted the similarities between the writings of Marlowe and those of Shakespeare. (There are almost 100 lines in the works of Shakespeare identical or very similar to those of Marlowe.)
In 1593 Marlowe was scheduled to appear before the Privy Council on charges of heresy and treason, the penalty for which was death. Days before the trial, he was supposedly "murdered" by friends over the price of a dinner bill. England's foremost writer at the time was then "buried unceremoniously" in an unmarked grave outside London.
Almost immediately, an unknown actor named Shakespeare, who reputedly held horses for the gentry while they watched plays, began turning out magnificent dramas, sonnets and poems.
"The Shakespeare Conspiracy" purports that Marlowe, a government spy who was probably gay, continued to write while in hiding (explaining why fourteen more plays appear after the death of the actor Shakespeare).
The last third of the book, The Shakespeare Conspiracy, contains supplements describing why Shakespeare could not have written the works and why scholars believe Marlowe wrote them - and verifies how the facts in the novel are historically accurate. It's called "The greatest literary deception of all time."
SOURCE Ted Bacino