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Dolores del Rio
In fog-dripping, barren and sometimes macabre settings, 11th-century Scottish nobleman Macbeth is led by an evil prophecy and his ruthless yet desirable wife to the treasonous act that makes him king. But he does not enjoy his newfound, dearly-won kingship... Restructured, but all the dialogue is Shakespeare's. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
I had bought two versions of Macbeth (Roman Polanski's and Orson's )after successfully toiling with the Arden texts for a couple of weeks, I had pictured in my mind's eye what what might be an adequate visual interpretation of the ambitious king and nagging wife etc... However 'interpretation' is the key to viewing any filmed Shakespeare, For a start on the Imbd there are easily over 20 versions, and with 'Orson Welles MacBeth' an 'interpretation' is certainly what you get.
The radical physical setting of this screen version (amongst random ragged rocks in the 'Highlands') indeed evokes a sense of a rustic kingdom in early Y1K, lit by burning broom and men toiling and dying at every available nook and cranny in the rock. Typically, the actors (particularly Welles) address the rhetoric with the Scotch accent which has never been indigenously heard in Scotland (think of Disney's 'Scrooge McDuck' or The Terrier 'Mac' in 'Lady and the Tramp'). Oral issues aside, MacBeth, after slaying Duncan, patrols his new house with a sort of upside down stool on his head with the legs sharpened to a point, and issues decrees from a throne in a type of indoor tent. One point about the play in general is the fact that he murders at least 4 people and only one of their spirits can be bothered to haunt the obsessed tyrant (Banquo visits mid Banquet)?
When you see this version of MacBeth, bear in mind Welles' brave and original touch to the highly worked text. The atmosphere is unique, rich with darkness and a kind of fear. Settings are perfectly lit for their purpose, and reliably Welles is always the man capable for for the titular role.
I had intended to return at least one of the videos, I think I will keep both, just to remind me how good each of them are.
(Incidently, I am writing from the town in the north of Scotland where Duncans Castle is located in the text : How far is it called to FORRES?, On old maps of the town there was a site 'ruin of Duncan's castle' now known as 'Castle Hill' was this the place where Macbeth strutted with the stool on his head?)
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