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Macbeth (1997)

 |  Drama  |  16 May 1997 (UK)
4.9
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 194 users  
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A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord siezes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.

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Title: Macbeth (1997)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Kenneth Bryans ...
Macduff (as Kenny Bryans)
Kern Falconer ...
Hildegard Neil ...
Chris Gormlie ...
Jean Trend ...
Phillipa Peak ...
Iain Stuart Robertson ...
John Corvin ...
Ross Dunsmore ...
Paul MacDonald ...
Phil Wallace ...
...
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Storyline

In eleventh century Scotland, three witches foretell that Macbeth will become King, while Banquo will beget Kings. Macbeth accordingly has King Duncan slain, and is duly crowned in his place. But that's where his problems really begin... Written by duncan shine <shine@telecall.co.uk>

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16 May 1997 (UK)  »

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Trivia

Jason Connery's father Sean Connery also played Macbeth in the Canadian adaptation Macbeth (1961). See more »

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Version of Katerina Izmailova (1966) See more »

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Role Reversal?
12 November 2012 | by (Albuquerque. NM) – See all my reviews

This is for "mcjadt", who wrote:

"Within a few minutes of Connery's mumbling, the viewer is struck the urge to see the roles reversed and MacTavish in the title role. No wonder MacBeth felt he needed to kill him."

Funny, I felt the same way about the two actors who played those parts in Polanski's version -- and again when I saw the play live with Richard Jordan as Macbeth.

It may be -- and I said MAY be -- that Shakespeare fully intended the audience to grasp immediately that Duncan is putting his trust in the wrong guy, and wrote their respective speeches accordingly: Banquo bluff, open, and truly self-assured, Macbeth a different breed of cat altogether despite his undoubted military skill and courage.

I believe you are supposed to think: "Huh. Something wrong with that guy ... Banquo's the cool dude, here ... "

And all three actors in the versions I've mentioned have let Shakespeare have his way.

That's just one of the things that makes Macbeth such a tough role to play -- I tried it once in workshop form (the scene where Lady M is trying to talk him out of his scruples, such as they are) and just about turned myself inside out trying to reconcile the sensitive, brooding, poetic philosopher with the ruthless, merciless murderer -- the two sometimes showing up in successive speeches.

Connery could have done better, I guess. So could Finch. So could Jordan. But since Bernard Shaw considered the role to be so unbelievable as a single human person as to be almost impossible to fully portray in a credible fashion, and since Shakespeare sets Banquo up from the beginning to be the better man, well ... best to focus on what any actor foolish enough to risk playing it does RIGHT, instead of wrong.


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