Great Performances: Season 39, Episode 3

Macbeth (6 Oct. 2010)

TV Episode  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 685 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 2 critic

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 ...
Lillian Dummer ...
Macduff Daughter
Madeleine Dummer ...
Macduff Daughter
...
Polly Frame ...
Witch / Gentlewoman
...
...
Malcolm
...
Witch
...
Bloody Sergeant
Christopher Knott ...
Old Siward
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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 Maqbool (2003) See more »

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Downfall of a Scot
28 December 2010 | by (Saffron Walden, UK) – See all my reviews

The richness of Shakespeare's plays, and the vagueness of their settings, lends them to many adaptations and interpretations. This version of Macbeth, the "Scottish play", doesn't feel particularly Scottish, more Orwellian, and Patrick Stewart plays the central character less as an opportunistic chancer out of his depth, and more as a deranged psychopathic tyrant: if the film resembles any other, it's 'Downfall', the story of the last days of Hitler. As always when watching Shakespeare, one is stunned by the sheer number of brilliant phrasings that have entered general usage from his works. But Macbeth is an odd play dramatically: the main action occurs offstage, the leavening self-referential humour present in 'Hamlet' is here lacking, and there are few appealing characters. In Kenneth Brannagh's version of 'Hamlet', for example, I really enjoyed Derek Jacobi's ambiguous Claudius; but in this story, there is little other than war and death. As a film, it also falls between two stools, as it is shot neither naturalistically, nor with the brilliant invention of Baz Luhrmann's 'Romeo + Juliet'; rather, it feels like a stage play jazzed up with the occasional camera trick. So I'm not sure this is the best of Shakespeare's tragedies, nor that this is my favourite production; but it's certainly intense. Indeed, if this was once popular entertainment, one can only regret the undemanding nature of modern tastes.


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