1948 / 89:00 / B/W / Drama/ Historical/ Murder
Director: Orson Welles
Starring: Orson Welles, Jeanette Nolan, Dan O'Herlihy, Roddy McDowall
Formats: Available in High Definition restored version.
Orson Welles brought Shakespeare to Republic Pictures in this brooding adaptation, filmed on sparse sets drenched in a style for which he had become well known. It was perhaps not well-received by critics of the day, but has stood the test of time. Art houses routinely show his original version of a slightly longer length, with the actors speaking in authentic Scot accents. Welles' rendition stretches the limits for purists, especially with the weird sets designed by Fred Ritter. Fantastically, Dunsinane comes to resemble a a tortured chasm and the health a seething caldron of catarrh-ridden grotesques. "...half-mad zealots in a Black Mass..." according to the New York Times in a contemporary review. Welles style of weird angles and exaggerated shadows, notable in other films like 'The Third Man', is quite evident here. This, added to the truly absurd costumes and stage direction, make Macbeth a unique bit of film history. As in most Welles films, Welles himself is the focus of most of the attention. He chews it up. All the dark and horrors and oppressive nature of an age are amply displayed in this Welles' classic.
"...has a great deal in its favor in the way of feudal spectacle and nightmare mood." 28 December 1950 the New York Times
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