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A young American woman (Sydne Rome) traveling through Italy finds herself in a strange Mediterranean villa where nothing seems right. Her visit becomes an absurd, decadent, oversexed ... See full summary »
Roman Polanski's version of Shakespeare's tragedy about a Scottish lord who murders the king and ascends the throne. His wife then begins hallucinating as a result of her guilt complex and the dead king's son conspires to attack Macbeth and expose him for the murderer he is. Written by
Jason Ihle <email@example.com>
Filming began with four grueling weeks in Snowdonia National Park. A cameraman was nearly killed on the first day when a fierce wind blew him into a crevice. See more »
The poster for the film shows Martin Shaw, who plays Banquo. He is dressed as the king. Banquo never becomes king though the three witches do however state that his heirs will become kings. See more »
I will not yield, To kiss the ground before young Malcolm's feet, And to be baited with the rabble's curse. Though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane, And thou oppos'd, being of no woman born, Yet I will try the last. Lay on, Macduff; And damn'd be him that first cries, "Hold, enough!"
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How does one do justice to one of the most nihilistic murderers in the history of drama? Even Richard the Third has a sense of humor. but once MacBeth buys into the witch's prophecy (which he doesn't have to do) - it's all straight to hell from there. Even his wife finally gets the idea that 'When you choose to ride the tiger, you don't get off' as one Confucian wit put it, long ago....
This is the film that put an end to the "high-school" Shakespeare that we all had to suffer through in the 1960s. That Shakespeare was dull, lifeless, meaninglessly conservative - everyone hated him. In America, we had heard about Peter Brooks, and about an all-nude MacBeth (which of course never happened, the reference was to the "out damn spot' scene, just as we see in this movie); and there were the legendary Orson Welles versions that were, unfortunately, wholly unavailable at the time. Then Zeffirelli made his Romeo and Juliet, showing Romeo's bare butt, even in the ad for the film, and we started getting the glimmer that Shakespeare had been a real person writing about other real people - then came Polanski's MacBeth.
I won't lie and tell you that this is the definitive MacBeth - or even that it's a really great movie - all of the actors seem like they are way over their heads in this material.
But Polanski's purely cinematic bravado pulls it off. Right from the beginning, watching a medieval warrior beat his opponent into a bloody pulp, we are drawn into a world where violence is the only truth we can believe - pretty much as MacBeth himself sees it.
From this point on, there was no turning back. The Shakespeare we inherit from this film may not be the one we want, but he is certainly a playwright of Elizabethan England (which the "high-school" Shakespeare never was).
That makes this film really important - at least until the definitive version actually gets made (and it hasn't, yet...).
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