Macbeth (1948)

Passed   |    |  Drama, History, War


Macbeth (1948) Poster

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.


7.5/10
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30 March 2005 | didi-5
7
| Welles's first stab at Shakespeare on film
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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