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Tempest, The (1908)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Sailors on board ship let down the infant Miranda to Prospero standing in a small boat. A man (Gonzalo?) hands a book to Prospero. Prospero carries Miranda through rocky terrain

In a countryside setting Caliban sits down and begins to eat grass. Prospero comes up to him and he cowers. Prospero admonishes him and leads him away at sword-point

Ariel is trapped in a hole in a tree. Prospero approaches and he beckons to him. He thinks what to do, then throws his arms wide. Ariel leaps out, bows to Prospero, skips around the tree and bows again. They both skip off

Ten years later, Caliban creeps up behind a grown-up Miranda seated on a log. He touches her and clutches his heart. She shrinks away from him. Ariel skips up and points at Caliban who cowers. Ariel turns into a monkey and Caliban crouches in fear. Ariel re-appears as himself and chases him away

In a rocky cave Prospero and Miranda look at the book while Caliban waits. Prospero pours first some liquid and then some earth from a trowel into a bowl. There is an explosion and some doves fly out.

Prospero and Miranda stand on either side of a hole in a cave through which a ship at sea can be seen. The ship rocks, its mast falls off and it sinks.

Ferdinand, the survivor of the shipwreck, walks out of the sea onto a beach and takes off his cloak. He walks through the countryside, looking about him.

Prospero and Miranda are by the cave-hole looking out to sea. She pleads with him. Ariel appears, Prospero gives him instructions and he vanishes.

A disconsolate Ferdinand sits on the ground. Ariel arrives and leads him through the countryside, appearing and disappearing as he does so. Ferdinand follows an invisible Ariel until he comes up to Miranda. One look and they fall in love. Prospero comes up behind them, gives thanks, then is angry and separates them. Ferdinand draws his sword but it disappears and Ariel appears amongst them holding it instead. He disappears again. Miranda pleads with Prospero but is sent away. He tells Ferdinand to come with him.

Prospero shows Ferdinand to a pile of logs, then leaves him. He moves a number of logs before sitting down to rest. Miranda comes to him and helps him move a large log. They sit down and embrace. A happy Prospero returns and gives them his blessing.

Courtiers lie on the ground suffering pangs of hunger. Ariel appears, and one of them pleads with him. Ariel waves his hands and a cloth appears covered in food. They look in wonder. It disappears. Prospero arrives in the background. They all recognise him and kneel before him. Ferdinand and Miranda enter with Ariel and they all look in amazement. Antonio greets his son, who shows him Miranda.

Meanwhile Ariel pleads with Prospero, who bids him go. Ariel skips off into the woods. Prospero, Miranda, Ferdinand and Caliban gather by the shore. The prow of a boat appears in a gap in the rocks. Three men jump off. Antonio and his party arrive and they all get onto the boat, except Caliban who is pushed away by one of the men.