In what might be termed Russo-Shakespearean noir, a ruthless woman's adulterous affair with a drifter sets in motion a chain-reaction of murder and deception in a remote village in 19th Century Mtsensk.
A rich merchant, Antonio is depressed for no good reason, until his good friend Bassanio comes to tell him how he's in love with Portia. Portia's father has died and left a very strange ... See full summary »
Hamish Macbeth is a police constable in the small Scottish town of Lochdubh, who occasionally bends the rules when it suits him or when it can help some of his fellow eccentric townsfolk. ... See full summary »
Nicol Williamson takes the lead role in this star-studded 1969 version of William Shakespeare's tragedy. Prince Hamlet mourns both his father's death and his mother's remarriage to Claudius... See full summary »
King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »
Orlando is forced to work like a servant for his brother Oliver, so he goes to win his fortune in a wrestling contest, where he meets a lady of the court, Rosalind. Rosalind (daughter of ... See full summary »
Octavius Caesar (later renamed Augustus Caesar, son of the murdered Julius Caesar), Marc Antony, and Lepidus form the triumvirate, the three rulers of the Roman Empire. Antony, though ... See full summary »
The first thing one notices about this 1983 BBC Macbeth is that it's horribly miscast. As Macbeth, Nicol Williamson is lacking in charisma and, frankly, looks much more like a fruit grocer than the martial, regal and ruthless Macbeth. Jane Lapotaire overacts. All the set pieces are badly mauled, including a savagely melodramatic rendition of the murder itself. The scene where they hold the daggers in bloody hands could almost be a comic scene, with Lapotaire trying desperately to push Williamson's Macbeth offstage as he seems lost to what's happening. Where is the fever, the cold terror of this scene? Could this be MacBeth the grocer killing his next-door neighbour Duncan the pub owner, rather than the regicide of the King of Scotland?
Jack Gold's direction is trite and unimaginative--what he gives is a serviceable "televisionish" production of Macbeth. The trick is simply to shoot a half-body shot of actors, then dolly in when they are declaiming their lines, so you get close-up shots of the faces. The sets are OK, but the colours are perpetually dull and washed-up.
Surely, this is not the way to treat one of Shakespeare's most exciting play? Even at 147 minutes, it seems too long.
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