Screenwriter Philip Dunne doubled as director on the elaborate filmed biography Prince of Players
. Richard Burton stars as the eminent American tragedian Edwin Booth, whose life and career is thrown into turmoil after his younger brother John Wilkes Booth (John Derek) assassinates Abraham Lincoln. The film begins as the younger Edwin assists his alcoholic, ailing father Junius Brutus Booth (Raymond Massey
) during a tour of the American hinterlands. When Junius dies just before a performance, Edwin goes on in his stead, thereby launching his own starring career. In danger of becoming as much of a drunk and carouser as his father, Edwin eventually pulls himself together, but his brother's act of violence turns the audience against the name of Booth. Almost booed offstage during a performance of Hamlet
, Edwin stands his ground, finally earning the respect of his rowdy audience. Not exactly packed with fast action, Prince of Players
will appeal most to lovers of theater in general and Shakespeare in particular. Highlight: Richard Burton and Eva LeGalleine performing the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet
in the courtyard of a brothel.