IMDb > A Performance of Macbeth (1979) (TV)

A Performance of Macbeth (1979) (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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William Shakespeare (play)
Trevor Nunn (conceived for television by)
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Macbeth is a daring member of the Scottish military who receives a revelation from three menacing sorceresses... See more » | Add synopsis »
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Primarily for ardent Shakespeare fans See more (22 total) »


  (in credits order)

Directed by
Philip Casson 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Trevor Nunn  conceived for television by
William Shakespeare  play

Produced by
Verity Lambert .... executive producer
Trevor Nunn .... producer
Original Music by
Guy Woolfenden 
Casting by
Joyce Nettles 
Production Design by
Mike Hall (designer)
Costume Design by
Lyn Harvey 
Makeup Department
Sally Thorpe .... makeup designer
Art Department
Ruth Bribram .... graphic designer
Sound Department
Julian Ford .... sound supervisor
Peter Woodward .... fight director
Camera and Electrical Department
Luigi Bottone .... lighting technician
Peter Coombs .... senior camera operator
Paul Stripp .... vision controller
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Lyn Harvey .... costume supervisor
Editorial Department
Martin Perrett .... vision mixer
Fred Turner .... editor: video tape
Other crew
Betty Crowe .... stage manager
Myles MacMahon .... stage manager
Juliet Mander .... stage manager
Trevor Nunn .... stage director
Ruth Parkhill .... production assistant
Dave Sparks .... studio supervisor
John Wayne .... floor manager

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Macbeth" - UK (short title), USA (short title)
See more »
UK:145 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

This was filmed on a circular stage.See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of The Moving Forest (2015)See more »


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9 out of 15 people found the following review useful.
Primarily for ardent Shakespeare fans, 11 November 2007
Author: bandw from Boulder, CO

This is about as spare a production of a Shakespeare play as you are likely to get. It is really more of a reading of the play than a performance. It is listed as being in color, but the colors are so muted that I had to check that my TV was not broken, since it looked pretty much like black and white to me.

Anyone coming to this production cold is going to be quite confused and will most likely abandon the effort.

The acting is stagy - you might say that this film sets the standard for the definition of that word. This will definitely not be for all tastes. As good an actor as McKellen is I could never connect with him in this performance, though he does do a great job on some of the soliloquies, particularly the one ending with "it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." I was much more engaged by McKellen during his talks about the performance on the DVD extras than I was by his performance in the film. Dench's Lady Macbeth was too shrill for me.

There are some interesting innovations, like "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble," being sung as a Gregorian Chant throughout most of Act IV, Scene 1. Other scenes did not work as well for me, such as the opening shot where the camera pans around the circle of actors. Having some text describing the characters that the actors were portraying would have been helpful, but I saw little significance to this as it is. And the loud organ music I found distracting and inconsistent with the production.

There are some casting problems. Roger Rees as Malcomb, dressed in his knit turtleneck sweater, looks more like he just came out of a fraternity party than being the leader of a large army.

Purists will hurl stones at me for saying it, but I much prefer Polanski's cinematic. "The Tragedy of Macbeth."

McKellen is quoted as saying that this is Shakespeare on the cheap. I think that the statement "You get what you pay for," might apply here.

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