Thursday, 22 November 2012

Macbeth (1948)


Here we are, in the year 1947. Orson Welles has just recently announced the idea of making a Shakespeare movie (NOTE: The previous post Chimes At Midnight had not yet been made, and Othello was not out yet, therefor, Orson Welles had never made a Shakespeare adaptation yet). Orson Welles considered Othello to be among Shakespeare's greatest work and that was his original desire to adapt, however it was shot down by the production agency. Orson Welles then changed his mind and decided to make Macbeth. Orson Welles was determined to make the movie with a small budget. The producer was determined as well, but for the opposite cause. He thought Orson deserved a large budget, but the production company refused. In 1936, Orson Welles had preformed the play Voodoo Macbeth. Macbeth, although far from Orson Welles' best movie, it marked a separate section of Orson Welles' career. This was the first Shakespeare movie Orson Welles made.


Macbeth, is a successful man in the the medieval times. He is slowly working his way to the top of the royalty chain. One day, Macbeth discovers several witches who utter the words:

"First Witch: All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!
 Second Witch: All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!
 Third Witch: All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!"

From that moment, Macbeth was cursed, for he could not escape their words. When he returned home, his he spoke to his wife privately of these haunting words said by the witches. A short time passed before Macbeth decided he could not take it. His wife had been constantly urging him to fulfill the witches prophecy  the only way this could come true, would be for Macbeth to kill whoever is above him in the chain of royalty. Macbeth does as his wife, Lady Macbeth, instructs him to. Despite his slight quilt, Macbeth does as Lady Macbeth continues to instruct him... he is urged to continue to kill. As he kills his way to the top, Lady Macbeth slowly loses her mind. And finally, Lady Macbeth takes her own life. Macbeth now has no one begging him to kill his way to the top, but does this stop him?


The Good: The dark atmosphere that Orson Welles' camera creates his one most Shakespeare adaptations lack. Orson Welles delivers an excellent performance as Macbeth that would without a doubt have Shakespeare applauding.

The Bad: Macbeth is lifeless. Orson Welles films what Shakespeare wrote, and does very little more. As well, despite Jeanette Nolan is given a character who she plays with as much skill as Pierce Brosnan has at singing.

The Ugly: When I think of how Jeanette Nolan actually got into this movie my mind goes blank for a few minutes. Than a thought pops into my mind. An ugly thought.

Directed by Orson Welles
Starring: Orson Welles, Jeanette Nolan and Roddy MacDowell
6.5/10 (C+)

1. F For Fake
2. The Lady From Shanghai
3. Chimes At Midnight
4. The Stranger
5. Macbeth

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