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This Is Macbeth

17 customer reviews

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This Is Macbeth + Great Performances: Macbeth + Macbeth / McKellen, Dench (Thames Shakespeare Collection)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

FOR STUDENTS, TEACHERS, AND LOVERS OF SHAKESPEARE. A hilarious and insightful introduction to one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, featuring probing interviews with the tragedy's main characters and the staging of key scenes. Watch as Macbeth (Mark Anderson Phillips) and Lady Macbeth (Allison White) rise to power and fall to ruin.

Review

Great Shakes
...a powerful and highly entertaining educational tool to help teachers turn elementary and high school kids as well as undergraduates onto Macbeth. Created in San Francisco by two Stanford lecturers - Jeremy Sabol and Greg Watkins... This is Macbeth is a terrific, feature-length DVD about Shakespeare's phantasmagoric tragedy of revenge. The film centers on a smartly-written television "interview" between a host -- the 16th century historian Ralph Holinshed (Shakespeare's source for the drama) - earnestly played by Sabol, and various characters from Shakespeare's play. In short, This is Macbeth is an unstuffy, entertaining and highly useful educational tool. I'm not in school and I got a kick out of it. Ultimately, This is Macbeth is fun viewing for anyone who's interested in theatre or Shakespeare. -- --Chloe Veltman, artsjournal.com

Inventive and Original...
This Is Macbeth [is] the brainchild of producers Watkins and Jeremy Sabol, two Stanford University lecturers. They employ an interview format akin to that of Larry King Live to flesh out the dense language and archetypal plot. Between the interviews with the leading characters are interposed stagings of integral scenes and commercials that parody the violence of Macbeth's world and highlight some of the better-known phrases from the play (e.g., "Out Damned Spot" stain remover). This video is strongly recommended for both high school and college courses, as it clarifies difficult passages and provides a fresh take on an iconic, but too often standardized, piece of literature. --Christopher Rager, Library Journal

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Mark Anderson Phillips, Allison Jean White, Jeremy Sabol, Ken Ruta, Liam Vincent
  • Directors: Greg Watkins
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Reinventing the Wheel
  • DVD Release Date: October 1, 2008
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0982153309
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,417 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Kalb on December 29, 2008
Insightful and humorous, "This Is Macbeth" weaves together dramatic scenes, "off-stage" interviews, and cogent analyses to help students experience Shakespeare in a relevant, highly enjoyable way.
Between exciting stagings of the most memorable scenes, characters step behind the curtain to discuss their motivations, while medieval historian/talk-show host Ralph Holinshed provides historical background and explores the play's themes.
Hilarious 11th-century advertisements and news ticker commentary blend past and present to paint a picture of Macbeth's and Shakespeare's times, offering context for students while simultaneously demonstrating the many ways in which the play and its themes are still pertinent today.
In short, "This Is Macbeth" both educates and entertains. If you are a student who loves Macbeth and wants to deepen your understanding, a student who can't relate to Macbeth but must read it anyway, or a teacher with students of either type, I'd highly recommend this movie!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Bronzan on January 26, 2009
Finally, a contemporary approach to teaching Shakespeare that works!

Having preformed and directed Shakespeare since the early 70s, including teaching at the high school level, I have had a chance to see a number of attempts to make Shakespeare understandable to the younger audience -- and most of them were just so-so. This Is Macbeth, thankfully, is superb. The makers of this combine a spot-on understanding of the issues and concepts in Macbeth with a highly entertaining and contemporary vehicle to convey them. They use an "interview" format with the actors. The interviewer asks very penetrating questions to understand what is happening in this story from the actors point of view. But the actors are in character, so the modern interviewer is questioning the characters themselves who interact with him and each other in a very conversational way. This really gets the ideas, sometimes subtle and difficult, across in a way anyone can relate to. Furthermore, the questions are in the order of the plays action so one gets drawn into the story almost immediately including the real suspense that comes from it as the story progresses. The "commercial" breaks are very funny and also tie into modern culture in a way that makes this entire effort extremely accessible to today's audience. The acting is quite good and when it breaks to the actual scenes from the play they are by then, very understandable and oh so interesting.

This is a very clever and successful piece of work. I think this has great application to students through high school and college. Frankly, for almost anyone initially, Shakespeare can be difficult to access but a tool like this is just what is needed to bring his great and universal observations to life. Now-- this team needs to develop the same type of approach for all his plays. Now that would be something for every school library!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Regrae VINE VOICE on March 29, 2009
Verified Purchase
I ordered This is Macbeth hoping to find something that help spark some interest in studying the Bard. I was very impressed with the DVD. Now that I have used it once, I know that the next time I will make better use of it. The songs are a bit corny, but the acting was good and key lines from the original helped students connect the old and the new.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MRLX on December 19, 2008
For the uninitiated, Shakespeare's plays can be pretty impenetrable. This movie solves that problem with an entertaining exploration of the Scottish Play. A mix of CNN-style interviews with the characters, scenes from the play, and goofy commercials, this movie is a must for all english teachers who wish to breathe new life into the material.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Brian S. Zalewski on February 8, 2009
This video is hilarious and very inventive. I learned more about Macbeth from this video than any cliff-notes. Awesome!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Yvonne D. Mason on December 16, 2009
My students are absolutely enchanted by ths video. As video/television consumers, they are already familiar with the interview/talk show format and are able to process the multiple streams of information easily. They have been able to keep up quite well with the character interviews, the scenes, and the ticker tape crawl of information on the screen. The characters become more accessible to the students as they evolve during Holinshed's interviews. This video is very well written and is right on target in terms of relevant, scholarly analysis. My students also love the commercials and the summary song. Many, many have remarked that my using this video in short bursts in class has reinforced and/or extended their understanding.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By P. Alparone on January 6, 2009
I teach high school Shakespeare workshops.
This Is Macbeth proved to be a useful tool in keeping their attention while giving them the information they need to understand the play.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Vee Jay on March 12, 2010
Verified Purchase
I bought this product to use when teaching Macbeth to high school seniors. The interviews were very useful in helping the students understand plot and the motivation for characters to behave the way they did. I did break up the viewing over several days. The interview format would have been too monotonous to show all at once. The students didn't care much for the songs, but they loved the medieval commercials. Also, I found that more students than I thought really paid attention to the news crawl at the bottom of the page. I would definitely use this video again in my classroom.
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This Is Macbeth
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