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Macbeth (1948)

Passed | | Drama, History, War | 23 June 1950 (France)
In 11th century Scotland, nobleman Macbeth and his wife plot to murder the king and usurp the throne in order to fulfill an evil prophecy made by three witches.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Lionel Braham ...
Archie Heugly ...
Jerry Farber ...
Christopher Welles ...
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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Entertainment Greatness . . . That Only Motion Picture Magic Can Bring !

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

23 June 1950 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Макбет  »

Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(cut) | (premiere) | (restored video)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the film was screened at Cannes, Orson Welles withdrew it from competition, reportedly to avoid unfavorable comparisons with Laurence Olivier's Hamlet (1948). See more »

Goofs

In one scene, you see Duncan in a crowd holding a lighted candle. The film cuts to a close up of Duncan and he is holding an unlit candle, the next cut back to Duncan in a crowd again holding a lighted candle. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
The ThreeThe ThreeThe Three: Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
See more »

Connections

Version of Macbeth (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

Dark Adaptation of a Dark Play
12 June 2001 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

Orson Welles's version of "Macbeth" makes a dark play even darker. Welles always has his own particular take on everything, and while this is an imperfect movie, it is certainly interesting.

The most noticeable feature of this adaptation is how dark everything is. Almost every scene and every set has barely enough light to let us see what is happening, accentuating the cheerless nature of the plot itself. Sometimes this is effective, but at other times it might have been better to give the viewer a break from the gloom, and to put the focus more on the characters and a little less on the atmosphere.

Macbeth the character is portrayed here in a rather different light than usual. He comes across as rather helpless and not in control of his fate, instead of as the usual stronger Shakespearean tragic hero whose strength is undone by his own tragic flaw. While the three witches seem more in control of the action than does Macbeth himself, most of the apparitions they create are not shown, with the focus being more on Macbeth's reaction. The text itself is also quite different in places, with some lines being switched to new or different characters, and many scenes re-arranged. In all of these respects, viewers will have varying opinions as to how well these decisions work.

While the result is certainly not a masterpiece like some of Welles' other films, his creative influence is clear throughout. Welles fans and Shakespeare fans should definitely see this adaptation and decide for themselves.


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