The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.
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 <email@example.com>
In one scene, you see Duncan in a crowd holding a lighted candle. The film cuts to a close up of Duncan and he is holding an unlit candle, the next cut back to Duncan in a crowd again holding a lighted candle. See more »
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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