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 »
Spurred on by an eerie prophecy of the power he could gain if he were King, Macbeth, an army general, murders Duncan, the King of Scotland, and takes the throne. However, his guilt, and that of his wife, may prove to be their undoing.
The Shakespeare tragedy that gave us the expression "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." King Lear has not one but two ungrateful children, and it's ... 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 »
Whither should I fly? I have done no harm. - But I remember now... I am in this earthly world, where to do harm is often laudable, to do good sometimes accounted dangerous folly.
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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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