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Macbeth (1954)

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.

Writers:

George Schaefer (adaptation), George Schaefer | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Maurice Evans ... Macbeth
Judith Anderson ... Lady Macbeth
House Jameson ... King Duncan
Richard Waring ... Macduff
Jane Rose Jane Rose ... First Witch
Frieda Altman Frieda Altman ... Second Witch
Maud Shearer Maud Shearer ... Third Witch
Roger Hamilton Roger Hamilton ... Malcolm
William Woodson William Woodson ... Sergeant
Guy Sorel Guy Sorel ... Ross
Staats Cotsworth Staats Cotsworth ... Banquo
Michael Kane Michael Kane ... Angus
Basil Langton ... Seyton
John Reese John Reese ... Fleance
J. Pat O'Malley ... Porter (as Pat O'Malley)
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Storyline

Based on Shakespeare's play: As Macbeth and Banquo return victorious from fighting a battle, they are met by three witches who make a series of tantalizing predictions. One of the predictions says that Macbeth will become King of Scotland. As Macbeth agonizes between loyalty and opportunity, his ruthless wife spurs him on to give up his reservations, causing Macbeth to resort to treachery and murder in order to fulfill his ambitions. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 November 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: Macbeth (#4.13) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color | Black and White (surviving kinescope prints)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 1954 and 1960 versions of "Macbeth", both made for the Hallmark Hall of Fame, are often erroneously considered to have had the same cast and technical staff. This is actually not true. Of the 1954 cast, only Maurice Evans and Judith Anderson appeared in the 1960 version, and the rest of the cast of the 1960 version was made up of British players who seldom appeared on American television. The cast of the 1954 version was largely made up of American players who often appeared on early live television. The technical staff of each production was entirely different, except for George Schaefer, who directed both the 1954 and 1960 versions. See more »

Connections

Version of Macbeth (1966) See more »

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User Reviews

Very Good Straightforward Adaptation
6 February 2006 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

For such a straightforward production, this is a very good adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth", and it demonstrates how good a simple production can be when it has a good cast and sticks to the powerful ideas and dialogue of Shakespeare himself. While the settings and scenery are generally rather plain, and it could really have benefited from more atmospheric detail, this is still much more satisfying to watch than many more elaborate versions have been.

Maurice Evans is quite good as Macbeth, giving a convincing portrayal of a man who begins as an honorable servant, then wavers over his choices, and finally gives in to his worst side. Judith Anderson, who might have been born to play Lady Macbeth, is even better. The rest of the cast does not the spotlight as often, but most of them are effective in their roles, with Michael Hordern as Banquo perhaps being the most noticeable. The screenplay is a straightforward adaptation, with almost every scene included, very little re-arrangement, and only enough dialogue omitted to fit it into its running time.

In its time, this production was thought of highly enough that a few years later almost the identical the cast was re-assembled, and the film remade with color and other advantages. But this earlier black-and-white version might be a little easier to find, and anyone who appreciates the play for its own sake will at the least enjoy the quality acting and character portrayals.


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