Based on Shakespeare's play: As Macbeth and Banquo return victorious from fighting a battle, they are met by three witches who make a series of tantalizing predictions. One of the ... See full summary »
Based on Shakespeare's play: As Macbeth and Banquo return victorious from fighting a battle, they are met by three witches who make a series of tantalizing predictions. One of the predictions says that Macbeth will become King of Scotland. As Macbeth agonizes between loyalty and opportunity, his ruthless wife spurs him on to give up his reservations, causing Macbeth to resort to treachery and murder in order to fulfill his ambitions. Written by
For such a straightforward production, this is a very good adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth", and it demonstrates how good a simple production can be when it has a good cast and sticks to the powerful ideas and dialogue of Shakespeare himself. While the settings and scenery are generally rather plain, and it could really have benefited from more atmospheric detail, this is still much more satisfying to watch than many more elaborate versions have been.
Maurice Evans is quite good as Macbeth, giving a convincing portrayal of a man who begins as an honorable servant, then wavers over his choices, and finally gives in to his worst side. Judith Anderson, who might have been born to play Lady Macbeth, is even better. The rest of the cast does not the spotlight as often, but most of them are effective in their roles, with Michael Hordern as Banquo perhaps being the most noticeable. The screenplay is a straightforward adaptation, with almost every scene included, very little re-arrangement, and only enough dialogue omitted to fit it into its running time.
In its time, this production was thought of highly enough that a few years later almost the identical the cast was re-assembled, and the film remade with color and other advantages. But this earlier black-and-white version might be a little easier to find, and anyone who appreciates the play for its own sake will at the least enjoy the quality acting and character portrayals.
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