Macbeth (1981)

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Macbeth (1981) 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.


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20 April 2001 | PhiFitz
4
| If the McKellen/Dench version is available, either skip this Brett/Laurie version or view them together.
With a high school student struggling through the text, we found two stageplay versions on film, this one with Jeremy Brett (RIP, Sherlock Holmes) and Piper Laurie, and the McKellen/Dench version.

I have seen three ways to film a stageplay. (1) Put up a few cameras with an audience present (never works). (2) Take a cast used to performing before an audience and reblock for cameras and shoot with no audience (this version). (3) Forget audience, block and perform entirely for film (McKellen/Dench).

So this Brett/Laurie version features actors who project as though they must entertain people 100 feet away, and they move through a paragraph of lines as one would truly read a paragraph. Well enough.

But the McKellen/Dench is much more gripping, despite a minimalist set. Lines and characters were omitted for the sake of an overall vision. Characters stopped dead in mid-paragraph for effect. I'll never remember who Ross was in the Brett; I'll remember Ross/Porter in the McKellen. No spoiler here, but in the two versions one sees radically different Lady Macbeths -- not merely in execution but in conception. The Dench Macbeth being absolutely thrilling.

This Brett/Laurie, however, tracks Shakespeare. So the high school student should begin here. Then move on to the McKellen/Dench.

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Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Drama

Details

Language

English


Country of Origin

USA

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