David Valkenet’s review:
This was the second film in the Orson Welles double feature I attended tonight.
I was not as enamoured of this film as I was of The Trial. Let me get the good out of the way: Jeanette Nolan was amazing as Lady Macbeth. One of the best performers of Shakespearean dialogue, she delivers each word with careful consideration, rather than just regurgitating the text.
Now, there were some problems namely I'm unsure why this was a film. Except for some stylistic touches the film is very stagey and at times stilted.
I find that film adaptations of Shakespeare plays that keep the dialogue intact really need to be 'cinematic' to overcome the inherent theatrical nature. Roman Polanski's The Tragedy of Macbeth is an example of a film that defeats it's theatrical dialogue. Welles' Macbeth, unfortunately, fails in all but few scenes. As a play, it can get away with having exposition in dia/monologue due to the restricted nature of the stage, but when it's updated to film, the dialogue becomes too much, and I as a viewer start to crave action. I want to see what they are talking about, rather than have them tell me. Having seen this performed in the theatre there is no question which I prefer.
The previously mentioned Astor theatre decided to digitally project this film. This makes the second time I've seen an old film projected digitally (the other film was Susperia) and have come to the conclusion that it looks like absolute dogshit. It was pixilated, murky and the focus was not sharp in the least, and the audio was tinny at best and centralised behind the screen. Having no surround sound really makes you appreciate what you are missing. So, please, any Melbourne readers I urge you to check if the Astor is digitally projecting an older film (other than in 2K or 4K) DO NOT GO!