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Top Customer Reviews
The visual and sonic clarity of the Olive reveals subtleties and richness of detail not present in previous transfers. For example, the murder scene -- portrayed in one bravura sequence of over ten minutes with no cuts -- uses deep focus techniques to amazing effect, as in Citizen Kane, showing planes of action close-to and far from the camera lens with crisp detail. In earlier versions, Macbeth's emergence and shout from the king's bedchamber during Lady Macbeth's soliloquy loses impact due to the muddiness of the background. In the new transfer, the superior rendering allows the locus of attention to move seamlessly between foreground and background action without confusion, loss of dramatic impact and meaning.
Also, the cavern scene with the assassins is not only visually powerful, with the stone walls glistening with sweat, but sonically as well. Listen for the sound of dripping water that becomes increasingly hallucinogenic as Banquo's last words vowing to be present at the king's upcoming feast. echoes in Macbeth's drink-addled brain. Here, Welles's background in radio serves the film well.
Apparently this film is controversial, for reasons I don't understand. (Some critics complained about Welles' accent -- well, to me it sounds Scottish, and Macbeth *was* Scottish, wasn't he?)
I have the VHS of this film, and I'm glad that a quality DVD has finally been released. I've already placed my order.
For those of you who don't know the film's history, here's a brief summary. Welles mounted his altered version of the play in Salt Lake City after talking Republic Pictures (known for westerns and the occasional quality production like THE QUIET MAN) into financing a film version. The cost was to be around $750,000 and it was shot on Republic soundstages in less than 3 weeks. The Republic executives had the original cut trimmed from 135 to 107 minutes with Welles' grudging consent and then previewed it. The critics hated it, comparing it unfavorably to Olivier's HAMLET which was released the same year.Read more ›
MACBETH last year. It's a stark film, Welles' complete
107m version (once cut to 89m) in all of its brooding glory.
Welles staged this production on the former Republic Pictures B-western
sets; but you would never know it. The moors, haunted by the
Three Witches, chill; Macbeth's lair, a labyrinth of tortured
passageways, disturbs; and all is cloaked in shadow and darkness. Welles excels
as the tortured Macbeth; but the film belongs to his manipulative Lady
Macbeth (Jeanette Nolan) who plays the haunted madwoman devastatingly.
That Welles succeeded in his intent is proven by letting one's self
descend into his world of shadow, one ruler's plunge into
discontent. Roddy McDowell's on hand as a young, smooth-cheek'd Malcolm.
Shot crisp and sharp, the black and white images cut like razor'd sword edges.
Welles once stated he saw this MACBETH as a cross between
WUTHERING HEIGHTS and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. That he succeeded
can be seen there upon the screen.
A final note: Welles once staged a famous "voodoo version" of Macbeth.
What might that have been like to see?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Orson Welles has to be one of the greatest actors of cinema. Don't usually like the liberties directors take with Shakespeare's plays but this is a magnificent exception.Published 5 months ago by Steven Hardy
Orson Welles doesn't have the diction to speak Shakespeare's lines, but Jeanette Nolan as Lady Macbeth is wall-to-wall magic, especially with her great Scottish brogue (she grew up... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Alan Towson
Well's is always inventive and fascinating. This Macbeth contains 18 minutes cut from earlier releases. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Bjoerling Idolater
This is a great Movie. It is the best of all of the Macbeth.Published 9 months ago by Stanley K. Mccuaig
This is an older version of Macbeth well suited for those that know the play. Orson Wells is a great Macbeth.Published 10 months ago by Idy E. Linares