Great Performances: Season 39, Episode 3

Macbeth (6 Oct. 2010)

TV Episode  -   -  Biography | Drama | Music
7.8
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Macbeth, starring Patrick Stewart, comes to the small screen. Reinterpreted and relocated to an underground netherworld, the Shakespearean classic is heightened with an edgy style.

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Title: Macbeth (06 Oct 2010)

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
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Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Oliver Burch ...
Servant
Suzanne Burden ...
Ben Carpenter ...
Hugo Docking ...
Macduff Son
Lillian Dummer ...
Macduff Daughter
Madeleine Dummer ...
Macduff Daughter
...
Polly Frame ...
Witch / Gentlewoman
...
Malcolm
Sophie Hunter ...
Witch
...
Bloody Sergeant
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Old Siward
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Witch
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Macbeth, starring Patrick Stewart, comes to the small screen. Reinterpreted and relocated to an underground netherworld, the Shakespearean classic is heightened with an edgy style.

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6 October 2010 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Patrick Stewart has twice played Claudius in Hamlet. Like Macbeth, Claudius kills the King to usurp his throne. See more »

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Version of Macbeth (1954) See more »

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Patrick Stewart's Macbeth
19 March 2014 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

Macbeth (2010) was shown on TV as part of the "Great Performances" series. Director Rupert Goold has given us a very unusual Macbeth. It's primarily a war story, set in what I judge to be about 1955. There are battle scenes, and almost all of the characters are in military uniform. Goold has inserted stock footage of planes and tanks into several scenes.

The film was shot in Welbeck Abbey. I looked it up, and the abbey has underground rooms and tunnels, where a great deal of the action takes place. (The abbey was used as a military facility and training grounds, so, presumably, the tunnels and the elevators really exist.) Not exactly what Shakespeare may have had in mind, but effective enough once you get used to it.

Patrick Stewart makes a great Macbeth. You can believe that he's a tough, ruthless, and ambitious officer, who wants to be king.

Kate Fleetwood (Goold's wife) is an excellent Lady Macbeth. This Lady Macbeth is no longer young, and not as beautiful as she once was, but she has a royal presence that demands respect.

Believe it or not, a highlight of the film for me were the three witches. These are not supernatural hags. They are three women who look as if they belong where they are. However, where they are is everywhere. First we see them as nurses. (It turns out that you'd rather not have any of them as your nurse.) Then they're cooks, brandishing knives in the kitchen. Then they're serving at the banquet. No one pays them any special attention, but they deserve attention. The concept of the witches, representing evil, being everywhere really worked for me. Utilizing them in this way was a brilliant directorial touch.

We saw this Macbeth on DVD, and it worked very well on the small screen. Most of the scenes are inside the abbey, where the light is dim and space is limited. I don't think seeing on the movie on a large screen would change matters much.

Fair warning: the first scene of the film--the interview with the wounded sergeant--is very bloody and disturbing. If blood and violence aren't your thing, fast forward through that part.

This Macbeth is a very creative, edgy rendering of Shakespeare's play. It's worth seeking out and seeing this movie.


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