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Macbeth (1948)

Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.

Director:

Orson Welles

Writer:

William Shakespeare (by)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Orson Welles ... Macbeth
Jeanette Nolan ... Lady Macbeth
Dan O'Herlihy ... Macduff
Roddy McDowall ... Malcolm
Edgar Barrier ... Banquo
Alan Napier ... A Holy Father
Erskine Sanford ... Duncan
John Dierkes ... Ross
Keene Curtis ... Lennox
Peggy Webber ... Lady Macduff / The Three
Lionel Braham Lionel Braham ... Siward
Archie Heugly Archie Heugly ... Young Siward
Jerry Farber Jerry Farber ... Fleance
Christopher Welles Christopher Welles ... Macduff Child
Morgan Farley ... Doctor
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Storyline

In fog-dripping, barren and sometimes macabre settings, 11th-century Scottish nobleman Macbeth is led by an evil prophecy and his ruthless yet desirable wife to the treasonous act that makes him king. But he does not enjoy his newfound, dearly-won kingship... Restructured, but all the dialogue is Shakespeare's. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Entertainment Greatness . . . That Only Motion Picture Magic Can Bring !

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 June 1950 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Макбет See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mercury Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(cut) | (premiere) | (restored video)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the witches is played by Brainerd Duffield, a man. Some sources mistakenly credit Charles Lederer in the role. See more »

Goofs

Duncan and his men renew their baptismal vows with a prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII in 1884. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
The ThreeThe ThreeThe Three: Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The uncut version of 107 minutes length has dialogue with full Scottish accents, while the more common originally released version of 89 minutes, while still making use of Scotch accents, has long stretches of redubbed, unaccented dialogue. See more »

Connections

Referenced in E! Mysteries & Scandals: Orson Welles (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Welles's first stab at Shakespeare on film
30 March 2005 | by didi-5See all my reviews

This 40s Macbeth is a Shakespeare adaptation with mixed results, created by and starring Orson Welles and released through Poverty Row studio Republic. The costumes are Scandinavian but the accents are definitely Scottish.

Welles is good as the Thane who becomes a king-killer and a tyrant, while Jeanette Nolan appears as the scheming Lady Macbeth. Roddy McDowell is a delicate Malcolm, while Erskine Sanford is Duncan.

The mood of the film is dark, drenched in fog, but the way it is filmed is pure cinema, giving the text new life. There would be better Macbeths but this one is certainly memorable and effective. Welles would go on to tackle Othello and Henry IV (as Chimes at Midnight).

While Olivier was making his mark as a Shakespearian actor/director in British film, Welles was certainly doing the same in the USA. This film stands for all the work which he started and never finished, and is a good example of what he could achieve when at his best.


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