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Great Performances: Macbeth

196 customer reviews

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(Jan 11, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

Following a London West End run in December 2007, a sold-out limited engagement at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in March 2008, and a subsequent eight-week run on Broadway, director Rupert Goold s gripping stage production of Macbeth starring Patrick Stewart in a triumphant, Tony-nominated performance will be filmed for television in a co-production agreement between WNET.ORG and Illuminations Television, in association with the BBC. Shot in High Definition on UK locations, Goold will maintain the atmosphere and tone of the critically acclaimed stage production.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Patrick Stewart, Kate Fleetwood, Scott Handy, Martin Turner, Oliver Burch
  • Directors: Rupert Goold
  • Writers: William Shakespeare
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 11, 2011
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00443FMKM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,890 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Great Performances: Macbeth" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

201 of 212 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 8, 2010
Format: DVD
I just finished watching Rupert Goold's film of Macbeth, starring Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood. As mentioned in the last post, I saw this production on Broadway and was eagerly awaiting the film version. Now I've seen a lot of great film Macbeths, including the Ian McKellen/Judi Dench version, the RSC film with Antony Sher, and Roman Polanski's. This film is the best Macbeth that you will ever see. In fact, scenes that I didn't find very effective on stage (Lady Macbeth's mad scene and and the long scene between Malcolm and Macduff) were very powerful in the movie. Patrick Stewart's performance is definitive. You can see every thought that passes through his mind. Kate Fleetwood's Lady Macbeth charted her fall into insanity with such clarity that when Macbeth is told that she has died, it's no surprise to him or the audience. You see that there was no other end to her story. The Weird Sisters, here played as Nurses who have gone over to the dark side, are truly frightening. There is no weak link in this cast, the directing is thrillingly original, and the production design is stunning. It easily could have been shown in movie theaters. This Macbeth is set during the Cold War of the 1950's, and doesn't shy away from the shocking violence of a dictatorship. Characters are brutally executed, and the murder of Lady Macduff and her children is greatly disturbing, even though you see almost nothing happen. And to top it all off, Rupert Goold has the film end with the camera panning from location to location throughout the castle (the dining room, the kitchen, the Weird Sisters' morgue) and then closes with a shot of Macbeth and his Lady in the elevator, hand in hand. So we end with the idea that Macbeth's castle isn't just drenched in blood. Now it's haunted.
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93 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Santa Barbara on October 11, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the best version of this play you will ever see. Patrick Stewart has grabbed the crown. I have seen Macbeth numerous times and because I know it by heart I expected little in the way of anything new. I was wrong. This version is outright spooky, scary, and unsettling. There are shocking touches such as one of the witches pulling out a war wounded soldier's heart. You may never trust a "night nurse" again. The unbelievable intensity of Lady Macbeth will screw you to your seat and give you nightmares. Her sleepwalking moments will take your breath away and make you squirm. New, fresh, dynamic and awesome. I was wondering how this production would pull off the "porter" scene. It was raw and disgusting - just the right touch for this adaptation. No comic relief here, unless you are a psycho. All of the other Machbeth's may go home now. You are no longer needed.
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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 2010
Format: DVD
Shakespeare Most Amazing...

Firstly, let's understand something: this is cinema art--a motion picture, not a filmed stage performance. Therefore the director (Rupert Goold), cinematographer, set designers et alii are enabled to make brilliant choices concerning the visuals, sound, lighting, and other stunning effects.

There have been many wonderful film adaptations of Shakespeare's plays (since Olivier's 1948 Hamlet).
Personal favourites include Olivier's 1955 Richard III, Olivier's 1965 Othello, Peter Hall's 1968 A Midsummer Night's Dream, Polanski's 1971 Macbeth, Branagh's 1989 Henry V, Greenaway's 1991 Prospero's Books [The Tempest], Richard Loncraine's 1995 Richard III, Branagh's 1996 Hamlet, Julie Taymor's 1999 Titus [Titus Andronicus], Michael Radford's 2004 Merchant of Venice, and Gregory Doran's 2009 Hamlet.

Here Rupert Goold's Macbeth is the summum bonum of all its predecessors.

Goold has taken all the best ideas from the aforementioned film adaptations, added all the latest technical innovations, combined the most brilliant original ideas, and synthesized all into a visually stunning and dramatically devastating presentation of Shakespeare's poetry: it is simply an unnatural wonder of song and Schein (as Wilde and Nietzsche would each term it).

The acting and elocution are fabulous: Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood deserve all theatrical appreciation.

Moreover, the execution of the tragedy is utterly remarkable: Goold and company employ concepts of 1930's totalitarianism and militarism (cf. Loncraine's Richard III) with Greenaway's grotesque details (cf.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Steven Schafersman on October 10, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have seen both live and filmed versions of Macbeth over the years, but none made a greater impression than this version that I caught on PBS on Wednesday, October 6. I was going to watch the first hour of Macbeth--a story I knew well--and then turn to another program, but I couldn't turn the channel because I had been ineluctably drawn into the drama and era. The play is set in late 1930s or early 1940s fascist Europe. Scotland is a fascist country similar to Italy and Germany of the time, and is at war with democratic England. Film clips of fascist Italy and communist Soviet Union are used to portray the armies of Scotland. As happens in fascism and militarism, affairs between leaders are often settled by murder and assassination in particularly brutal ways. The setting is similar to the 1995 version of Richard III staring Ian McKellen that was so effective with the late 1930s militaristic uniforms, automobiles, and settings.

To say this Macbeth is excellently acted is an understatement: the acting and elocution are terrific, that of Patrick Stewart as Macbeth and every single other character. Every word is completely discernible. The costumes, scenery, and staging are also spectacular. For three hours I watched with complete attention and fascination--I literally could not turn away from the drama on the screen. After Macbeth has decided to go over to the dark side at his wife's urging, the staging has frequent moments of impending menace and dread, such as when he matter-of-factually prepares ham sandwiches while he instructs his assassins about how to murder Banquo and his son.
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