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A Scottish warlord and his wife murder their way to a pair of crowns.
A Scottish warlord and his wife murder their way to a pair of crowns.
My previous viewing of this on DVD on a tiny tube television prevented me from appreciating it as much as I did today. I've always thought of Welles' Othello as Shakespeare Noir, and now I see Macbeth as his Shakespeare Expressionist Horror. It looks more like James Whale's Frankenstein than your average, or even above average, Shakespeare adaptation. As Hannah noted on Twitter, the visual motif in Othello is one of traps and enclosures, while here it is wide open nightmare landscapes, shadows and fog. The rolling mist in the "tomorrow and tomorrow" soliloquy forms a visual rhyme with the smoke from the chimney in Citizen Kane as Rosebud burns. The search for meaning in identity and actions proves elusive,…
Much too easy to write this one off as a minor Welles work, even if it is the least of his Shakespeare adaptations. But you can start to see here shades of the more creative, mature Welles of his last three decades as a filmmaker - not quite stitching things together and finding new juxtapositions just yet, but (and in the same way, it would be disrespectful to Welles's work as a whole just to pile on this for having a lower budget than his previous A-list Hollywood work) it's genuinely inspiring in how Welles pairs his mis-en-scene down to pure essentials, giving the imagery an abstract quality that I'm not sure he'd ever quite match again, while still (and…
Deep shadows, smoke, witches, and Welles doing Shakespeare. What more could I want?
Film #35 of Project 40
”Life ... is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Hamlet wasn’t the only cinematic adaptation of a famous William Shakespeare play in 1948 and while Laurence Olivier’s version pleased the critics and won the major Academy Awards of the year the Orson Welles’ more melancholic and more penetrating adaptation didn’t get much attention and somehow lost the initial battle to its more popular sister. The general mood and atmosphere of Macbeth, like any other Shakespeare tragedy, is gloomy and sorrowful but with the high contrast, shadowy and somewhat mournful visual style of Welles the story of Macbeth and his notorious wife becomes even more tragic. Low-angle shots along…
On the promise of this, one can only imagine the spectacle of one of Welles' stage plays. I love how this is still theatrical—not afraid to let scenes play out without much editing or interruption—and yet still fantastically expressive. The visual dimension is harnessed boldly in the opening witches scene and the Birnam Wood finale as well as in the sets; the castle in which most of the film takes place is made up of some incredible designs, and thankfully the camera isn't afraid to show them off without overdoing it. Wrought in iron and wind, this is surely up there with Throne of Blood among the great Shakespearean tragedy adaptations, spurred on by a mighty lead performance: and not one but two stupendous pieces of headwear for Orson.
Be bold, bloody, and resolute
Laugh to scorn the power of man
The start of first-time viewings this month that makes me feel like the Frank Kafka bug laying on the bed with the caption "Oh Hell yes. Oh fuck yes." I have touched on it here before in my reviews on two adaptations of the play but it's worth repeating here. William Shakespeare's play Macbeth is perhaps my favorite story period. If I could count the original script as a book, that would be my favorite book ever. I have this hyper-specific version of the story in my head, how it should look, how it should feel, how the acting should be, things like that, and I had yet…
Welles’ experimental B-movie Macbeth is something of a miracle. He cut a deal with Republic Pictures, known best for singing cowboy oaters, for $700,000 to film his recent stage production using some some leftover sets, costumes that are an odd mix of Tartan, Tartar, and Statue of Liberty. For comparison, Olivier’s Hamlet, filmed contemporaneously had a $2.1MM budget. The result is uneven but such a visually powerful film that I think next time I will watch it on mute, perhaps with some favorite music playing.
Welles leans into phantasmagoria of the Shakespeare’s play. He sets it at the vortex of the old and the new religion. The witches cast a spell on a doll of Macbeth, which is a relict…
to be honest i have no idea what they are saying but this looks awesome. massive respect to welles for this endeavor even if it's relatively minor for him — he (and his crew) transformed republic's b-western sets into vague but deeply expressionist settings that do seem to lean more toward theater than cinema, until welles' exuberant camera movement brings them to life.
Orson Welles had massive restrictions when it came to shooting Macbeth, from its budget to its schedule. Its set premiere at Venice Film Festival was marred by comparisons to Laurence Olivier's version of Hamlet which would eventually take the festival's top prize (along with Best Picture at the Academy Awards.) Even with time, this remains one of Welles' lesser known works, less so in the shadow of Olivier, and more in that of Welles' later Shakespeare adaptations.
It speaks clearly to Welles' ability as actor and director that Macbeth works so well with so much working against it, both in its time and in the current day. Even on a supposed "off day", few could bring so much expressiveness to…
Welles is THE MAN. Seriously; his grim interpretation towards Shakespeare is a fantastically visionary one, plaguing the landscapes of a 12th-century Scotland with macabre settings and asphyxiating shadows. Too bad his ambition became momentarily overwhelming, but the technical innovation present here make up for the minor flaws. When you watch a film by Orson Welles, you don't feel it's from the US; when you watch a Welles film of the 40s, it feels significantly ahead of its time.
When Orson Welles made Citizen Kane, after signing the most prestigious directing deal in Hollywood history, few would have expected that just six years later he'd be clomping around papier-mâché sets on the back lot of cheapo studio Republic with a saucepan on his head.
I'm exaggerating – the sets (designed by Welles but severely botched in execution) just look like papier-mâché, and the crown is more like a pasta strainer full of penises – but he is at Republic and oh-how-the-mighty-have-fallen.
After the debacle of The Lady from Shanghai, the truncated epic noir (that’s not a thing, Orson, what did you expect?) made via his last major lifeline, his ex-wife’s studio, Columbia, Welles shuffled off to Republic, a minor…
What better movie to act as a come-down from a weekend of noir fever than one based on the original noir? Welles (also playing the lead and sporting some Jack Kirby facial hair) seems to dig the connection too, since he fills the movie with a lot of very sharp shadows covering an almost otherwordly environs - this is a land so detached from modern conveniences that they couldn't even make a comfortable crown.
I mean it's alright, but compared to Kurusowa adaptation of Macbeth, Throne of Blood, it's not nearly as good. Throne of Blood is in japanese, but still somehow easier to understand than this movie because the shots are more well crafted and the language is simpler. It's also not as good as Laurence Olivier's adaptation of Hamlet that came out the same year. Both this movie and Hamlet use old english, but it works way better when spoken by Laurence Olivier, he is incredibly better at this kind of acting and dialogues than Orson Welles. Overall, it's an ok movie by it's own, but when compared to better adaptations, notably Throne of Blood and Hamlet (1948), it pales in comparaison.
A tragédia de Macbeth contada por um dos maiores diretores do cinema com um orçamento curtíssimo e talento de sobra
Sim, esse longa parece um filme B, seus cenários são extremamente simples, grandiosos mas vazio em objetos, entretanto, isso não é uma falha. Os cenários criam um ambiente opressivo e claustrofóbico, iluminados da melhor forma possível para contar essa tragédia, o horror de Macbeth em forma visual
As composições são definitivamente a minha coisa favorita nesse filme, é uma das obras cinematográficas mais bonitas que eu já vi
A ascensão e queda de Macbeth ganha ainda mais com a atuação magnífica de Orson Welles, seu Macbeth é um homem atormentado pelo seu ato, cada ação do personagem é vivida de forma excelente por Welles, um rei vivendo um pesadelo interminável
Junto com "Trono Manchado de Sangue" de Akira Kurosawa, essa é minha versão favorita dessa história
"Sleep no more"
미학적으로 공간을 구현하기 위한 롱테이크와 미쟝센은 그저 인물의 감정과 관계를 그리는데 집착하다보니 구도가 어색해지고, 인물을 그리기위한 몽타주 역시 배경 변화에만 몰두하니 무의미한 점프컷으로 전락한다. 웰즈의 미학은 이 2가지 방법론의 조화인데, 따로 어색하다는 느낌을 지울수 없다.
Tight as hell
From what I know this was recorded like a radio play then filmed afterwards with actors either mouthing, or not mouthing if the dialogue was an (aside), along with the lines.
Orson Welles was always pushing the limits of visual ingenuity, and this rather cheap production shows how he was one of the greatest visual film makers of all time.
It was difficult to follow, though I didn't mind the attempt a Scottish accents, but the speed of the recital was too slow. I kept nodding off, difficult to keep my eyes open. I watched it on the Youtube app on my TV, but if I watched it on my computer it would have been better to play at 1.5x speed.
“I have no words; my voice is in my sword“ - words which the one and only Frances McDormand said when receiving her third (3!) Oscar last month, probably BECAUSE THE ADAPTATION OF MACBETH BY JOEL COEN AND HER AS LADY MACBETH THAT IS COMING OUT THIS YEAAARRRRR YEEEHAWWWW! Sorry just had a fan girl moment because I’ve been thinking about these words the past month and by watching this I finally found a connection!
Anyway... An Orson Wells film that I liked?! Wouuuu thats good for me!
Lovely production design and even more the acting! What a character Lady Macbeth is!!! Wells even looked handsome at some angles! Sorry pls don’t come at me!
A cinematographic masterpiece, with harsh German expressionist shadows swallowing the sets. The action is filled with brutality, more so than you'd probably expect from a 1940s film, but nonetheless powerful cinema. The performances are all good, with Orson Welles being the best in my view (especially his facial performance), but the vocal performances in this film -- like in every Shakespeare production I've ever seen -- is horrible, way too high-flown for me to believe, but without the metatheatrical backbone behind a lot of Shakespeare's characters. But besides the vocals, Macbeth is a fantastic film, one of Welles' best films, based on one of Shakespeare's best plays. Highly recommended.
the banquet scene absolutely destroyed me. i've never murdered anyone & i don’t have ptsd but i felt that. this film does a great job balancing the theatrical & the cinematic, maintaining the kinetic energy of the theater via continuity between scenes while also taking advantage of uniquely filmic techniques (primarily editing, such as in the banquet scene) to introduce more subjectivity into the play
Prophecy, murder, guilt and fear lead to more murder more prophecy, guilt and fear and his own murder.
Orson Welles is the the bomb. Great performance and great filming on a stage-like set.
Thank God for the recovery of the original version in 1980 with the Scottish accent and full length.
A very good adaptation of one of my favorite Shakespeare plays.
The sets and performances are pretty top-notch and Welles portrays madness with a vigor. Takes all the best elements of the stage and keeps that feel, leading to an adaptation that's both classic and modern.
Macbeth seriously violated the bro code by not looking out for his boys when he made it to the top. If Banquo was in my squad, he’d be sitting right next to me at the feast, and it wouldn’t be an illusion. 💯
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