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I watched the film of Macbeth in a slight panic the night before my English Literature GCSE.
Although I find Judi Dench quite irritating, it was worth sitting through her performance just to find out what actually happened in the play. Can you guess I hadn't finished reading it?
Although the teacher had warned us that the film version changed several parts of the story, it all seemed to make sense and I passed my GCSE with no problems.
If you are not a big Shakespeare/Judi Dench fan, it's probably not worth watching unless you have an English exam the next day.
WHY DO I THINK macbeth ISGREAT? While think about it iam 14 years old , i don't know the frist thing about shakespeare all i hear he is a wounderful writer.I look though a text book all i see is lot's of writing...........ahh not my thing but how do i know all i did was flick though it .so all you students who think it a wasit think again..... because it might be in shakespearen language but it great it full of words that are prepore english.Anyway don't just take my for it see the film or the produchion.I see both and to me the produchion was way better and if you'r in to that darkness,murder mysteries,fierce fighting then this is you'r film and at the end of the day if you still hate there not anything more i could say.......... i love it at frist it was not my cup of tea.....but intall that film i don't know what was my cup of tea.But every thing was not prefect .....i mean the scen was not great because at the start it meant to be but i don't think the video shows it that way e.g in the prodchion the witches are beauitful but in the video they are ugly with three eyes....i don't think it get the point.
Despite the very convincing comments of e.g. vhart and Athanasius_Green I have to say, I STILL don't like this version of Macbeth. Maybe it's that we had to watch it back in school when I was still struggling to understand it (English is not my mother tongue). Maybe it's the "Playboy productions presents..." at the beginnig that did it for me and made my feminist heart harden against this film... :-) Who knows. Well, I'm going to be fair about it though: First of all, I think it's a rather conventional, conservative approach to the material which makes the film useful for school purposes etc. the setting is unspectacular, rather realistic and it uses the original lines, so no experiments on the language front as far as I could see. The music is sometimes a bit annoying, especially the dissonant cacophony that starts to roar off in all the witches' scenes...not my cup of tea anyway. Apart from that the music is okay (Third Ear band or so, using traditional instruments and all). Another good thing, we have a rather attractive Lady Macbeth (Francesca Annis)! Some productions tend to make her rather ugly because she's supposed to be "evil". Jon Finch in the title role does his job convincingly enough but no more (to my mind) though he seems to become better throughout the film (desastrous haircut though...*grin*), Duncan in this version seems a bit of a kind-hearted naive and stupid old fogey. I kind of liked the Banquo character though, the acting looked very natural. (Was that Martin Shaw?) All in all the film is okay but not spectacular, sometimes the symbolism (if it is supposed to be symbolism) is a bit too unoriginal and blunt for my taste. (e.g. the burning cross zooming in when Macduff's castle is burnt down and his family killed...). Watching the film is not a waste of time but with me it doesn't qualify for a must-see either. Make up your minds...
Yes, Playboy - the soft pornographers - really did stump up the money for this movie. Playboy have been known to do some worthwhile things, and this is one of them. Polanski's Macbeth is a great contribution to the body of recorded performances of Shakespeare. I suspect that the mixture of Polanski and the firebrand critic, Kenneth Tynan, (another fruitful partnership behind this movie) must have been pretty sparky! Firstly this production foregrounds the violence implicit in the play without becoming obsessed with violence. Secondly, Francesca Annis offers a stunningly interesting insight into evil. She demonstrates how effectively evil can operate through an apparently naive and gentle exterior. All of Shakespeare's great villains deserve to be played attractively (Iago, Edmund, Claudius, etc.). The Playboy influence on the production presumably demanded the naked sleepwalking scene - but it's all done very tastefully and it seems not to be designed to bring a lump to the trousers of the male viewers. It creates a sense of Lady Macbeth being "laid bare" in the fullest sense but does not meet the implicit suggestion that anybody walking around a medieval Scottish castle in the season suggested by the film with no clothes on at night would rapidly succumb to hypothermia. It is packed with fascinating interpolations - Cawdor's ironic "God Save the King" as he jumps to his famously admirable death with its hidden suggestion that Duncan isn't as admirable as we might otherwise be led to believe - Lady Macbeth amongst the witches when Macbeth invokes Hecate - the two handed game that Ross is portrayed as playing to great effect. The text of this shortest of Shakespeare's plays is, as far as I can tell, cut to the bone making its action very lean. It is an enormously visual production. The sound track is extremely effective.
Polanski basically follows a traditional interpretation of Macbeth to all intents and purposes, but this is almost a relief after watching too many directors with their own 'angles' on Shakespeare. This is set in the traditional medieval period in a bleak and windswept Scotland, and the film captures the atmosphere beautifully. It is quite a stark and violent take on Macbeth and the landscapes, and settings offer much to the nature of the story that take it beyond the page and onto the screen. The acting is first-class, and you even get the bonus of trying to spot a very young Keith Chegwin in what I think was his acting debut.. all two lines.. don't, however, let this put you off! I'd go so far as recommending this as one of the definitive screen Macbeth's.. far superior to the BBC production. In all a solid film, it is not groundbreaking, but it is a worthy testament to Shakespearean film-making. Polanski, in this period, was very effective in creating a 'dark' and forboding atmosphere which is well carried.
This is definatley the most accurate and best portayed MacBeth in the history of celluloid. Im not to fond of it becasue its a bit too hard hitting and gruesome for me, but directore Polanski really new what he was doing and I was really impresed with tis the first time I saw it, just his pure insight is amazing. The film shows medieval life as it really was, it was a nasty and bleak time to live. Life was uncomfortable and inadvanced and disease and murder ruled. The play is given a very thougtful edge here and Polanski has some very interesting ideas about how it should be interpereted, in paticular the characters. This is definatley reccomended for those studying the play at any level, but be warned, it is very gruesome and bleak.
Roman Polanski's adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth remains one of the most infamous for a number of reasons: the copious amounts of bloody gore, its expert use of location settings (filmed in North Wales) and Lady Macbeth's nude sleepwalking scene. Despite its notoriety, though, this does remain one of the more compelling film adaptations of the Scottish tragedy, if one of the more pessimistic takes on the story of Macbeth and his overreaching ambition. If you think the play is normally a bit of a downer, you haven't seen Polanski's bleak version of it, made in reaction to the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate, by the Manson "family". Jon Finch (Hitchcock's Frenzy) is a forceful Macbeth, bringing out the Scot's warrior instincts, and Francesca Annis is a memorable Lady Macbeth but the main thrust of the film belongs to Polanski's and noted British playwright and critic Kenneth Tynan's take on the play: extremely violent, nihilistic and visceral; this is down-in-the-dirt, no-holds-barred Shakespeare, not fussy costume drama. Pay close attention to the end, a silent coda that puts a chilling twist on all the action that has come beforehand and foreshadows more tragedy to come. --Mark Englehart