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MacBeth - The Shakespeare Collection Volume 2 [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Jeremy Brett, Piper Laurie, Simon MacCorkindale, Richard Alfieri, Barry Primus
  • Directors: Arthur Allan Seidelman
  • Writers: William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Jack Nakano, Ken Kuta
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 2
  • Studio: Tmw / Media Group
  • VHS Release Date: February 16, 1993
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303279317
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #439,046 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

2.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By "nan15428" on April 13, 2002
Format: DVD
I teach this play in High School and was looking for an alternative to the Welles and Polanski versions to help my students understand the play. This is not it. This one is horrible. Badly acted and directed and very difficult to follow. If anyone is looking for a video version of this play that is easy to understand and useful for teachers, there is a pretty new version of the play on DVD available on this site directed by J. Bretton Truett and E.J. Kerwin ( B0000639O1 ) that is outstanding for educators. They perform most of the play and include a great deal of video analysis as well. The performances are very good and they use a modern setting which is very effective. There is also a wonderful feature that lets you get right to the text from the video and back again.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 1999
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
Poor Jeremy Brett must be turning in his grave every time this film is run. This is an unintentionally hilarious version of the play that should scare the high schoolers for whom it was made 'off' the Bard forever...The problem is the director, the acting, and the costumes. The only good thing about this version of MACBETH is the script, which is still Shakespeare's... If you are fond of this actor, do yourself a favor and watch another SHERLOCK HOLMES episode, or MY FAIR LADY, instead.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By GenV on April 23, 2003
Format: DVD
I love Jeremy Brett and Piper Laurie. Their combined talents offer what few enjoyable moments there are to be found in this Macbeth, but they unfortunately can't salvage this atrocious production. Seeing it is enough to turn someone off Shakespeare. (Should that happen, Al Pacino's delightful LOOKING FOR RICHARD is the perfect antidote to restore passion for the Bard). But I digress. I want to issue a warning to all who might assume the DVD version of this Macbeth would be superior to the VHS. In this instance, tape was simply transferred unto disk with no remastering or enhancements, and there are no extra features. The visual and audio quality is appalling. I regret buying this DVD when I already owned the VHS (..like I said, I love Jeremy Brett...) The only advantage is being able to skip the boring parts to get to the monologues. But that isn't saying much.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Alfors on January 2, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Unfortunately, I have to agree with just about everyone else who has reviewed here this film production of "Macbeth." I found the video in my local library and was eagerly anticipating another fine performance by two of my favorite actors: Brett and Piper Laurie, especially Brett. I've seen and thoroughly enjoyed every one of the BBC Sherlock Holmes productions numerous times, and just recently was impressed with Brett's interpretation of Bassanio in the '73 TV production of "The Merchant of Venice." So, imagine my great disappointment when I was amazed by how awful this "Macbeth" really is. I would prefer to not fault the actors, but can only think that the director and producer were responsible. Not to mention the costumer and the "set" designer. I would strongly advise anyone who loves Shakespeare, Brett or Laurie, or all of the above, to avoid a most unpleasant experience.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Douglas E. Libert on February 6, 2007
Format: DVD
you know i've seen many renditions of Macbeth and in some plays he comes off almost as a Hamletlike Macbeth,(conflicted to abstraction)In this version he comes off just plain MEAN!! His wife mean and cold. Actually the worse the acting job in portraying this hellish couple,the more real to life. They just aren't likable people,brutal and agressive.However this version did cut out the critical scene when MacDuff tries to sway the English power against Macbeth. This is important because no matter how bad Macbeth is,the English worry that Macduff could be worse,so they put Macduff through a test of character.To the English,Macbeth is "the Devil we know",as opposed to the one we don,t. This is a major scene in the play and to omit it is a mistake. But the good note is that the Hell porter man is there in all fullness complete with drunken accents.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jean E. Pouliot on January 8, 2007
Format: DVD
I picked up this DVD to help my son to supplement his reading of the play for his high school Lit class. The play is staged quite simply, and is shot basically the way one would see it on stage, with few tracking shots or camera tricks. The set is quite spare -- a few columns here and there for the actors to walk around. The costuming is simple and mostly traditional.

The back of the DVD claims that the actors avoid speaking in English accents, which is supposedly an aid to American listeners. Frankly, this did not help me much, as some of the actors still spoke in "stagey" English and not in contemporary accents. The production stayed very close to the written play, which was suitable to the purpose I had in mind -- give me a sense of the play without lots of adaptations and scene cutting.

I thought Jeremy Brett did a fine and muscular job as Macbeth. However, I often found Piper Laurie (as Lady Macbeth) hard to understand. The witches and their familiars get more stage time than a reading of the play might suggest. This does not detract from the action, but suggests the continuing presence of their malign influence on Macbeth and others. The rest of the cast was quite competent and intelligible.

I don't agree completely with the very low ratings given by many reviewers. This Macbeth is a workmanlike and straightforward rendering of "The Scottish Tragedy." Taken for what it is, it is quite acceptable, if not exemplary.
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