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Macbeth (1971)

The Tragedy of Macbeth (original title)
A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord seizes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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John Stride ...
Nicholas Selby ...
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Paul Shelley ...
Maisie MacFarquhar ...
Elsie Taylor ...
Noelle Rimmington ...
Noel Davis ...
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Richard Pearson ...
Patricia Mason ...
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Storyline

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 <jrihl@conncoll.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

25 December 1971 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Macbeth  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,100,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Roman Polanski wanted to include a violent bear-baiting sequence but it posed all kinds of problems. The first bear they tried to use was too timid and kept running away from the dogs, while the second was uncontrollably vicious and pawed a crew member. He eventually opted for an intrepid stuntman in a bear suit, but understandably the man would only agree to a single dog being set loose on him, fearing his armored padding wouldn't be up to the job. Polanski secretly instructed the handlers to loose three dogs, sending the stuntman cowering in fear, screaming at the director to call them off. See more »

Goofs

The lyrics to the song that Fleance sings at Macbeth's banquet for Duncan at Inverness are taken from the poem "Merciles Beautè" by Geoffrey Chaucer. In the context of the film this extraneously inserted song is itself an anachronism, as Chaucer lived in the fourteenth century and Shakespeare's "Macbeth" historically takes place in the eleventh century. See more »

Quotes

Macbeth: Why should I play the Roman fool and die on mine own sword while I see lives that gashes do better on them?
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Connections

Version of Macbeth (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

An effective and stunning adaptation
13 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Polanki's 1971 Macbeth was a real treat. Before I watched it I was expecting to sleep for two hours like I did most of the BBC versions of Shakespeare films. This however brought a whole realistic and gritty, almost pulp effect, to the famous tragedy. I do believe that Polanski was ruminating over his recent trauma of the gruesome murder of his wife, Sharon Tate. And a great deal of his emotion is evident in the carnage of this film. However, Macbeth is a bloody story to begin with. I feel Roman was correct in revealing rugged Medieval Scotland in all of its bleak and grisly details. Jon finch is well cast as the ferocious thane whose personal insecurity and manipulations from his wife lead to his demise. Francesca Annis is correctly unorthodox playing Lady Macbeth with faint shrewdness and not too shrill. She is a perfect foil to her counterpart as she is both poised and stunningly beautiful. The fight scenes are believable without looking too choreographed. Polanski took artistic license a bit while wavering from the script and adding his avant garde effects. They are effective and help illustrate the play without deviating too much from the archaic language. This would not be a good choice for the squeamish, but for those looking for a bit of culture, history and film noir, Polanski's Macbeth is worth seeing.


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