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Films of Macbeth

Many film directors have been attracted to Shakespear’s tragic story of the rise and fall of the ambitous 11th –century Scotish warrior Macbeth. In fact, there are to date a total of 51 films: 32 made for the big screen, 16 made for television, two for the video release and the television series. Below are four interesting versions of the Scotish play.

Macbeth (1948) directed by Orson Welles
This starred Orso Welles as Macbeth and Jeanette Nolan as Lady Macbth. Welles was so keen to make the film that he agreed to shoot it only 23 days in a B-movie studio which was norally used for cowboy films. Despite the obvious limitations os the film because of its minimal budget, many critics have admired its qualities. Welles also eliminated large parts of the paly and even added a new character.

Scotland, Pa (2002) by Geoffrey Wright Australian director Geoffrey Wright also updated Macbeth. He set his version in present-day Melbourne, Australia. Macbeth works for a gangland boss named Ducan. The actors all speak with Australian accents. The violence ia as vivid as any other film about criminal gangs. However, the words spoken are mostly those composed by Shakespear himself. The director says he chose this play because the character have very strong motivations for their actions. He also liked the ideas about evil in the play. ‘I wonder, he said, if evil knows it’s evil, or whether, “we’re just fighting for what we believe in”.

Macbeth (1971) directed by Roman Polanski
Starring John Finch and Francesca Annis, this was Polanski’s first film project after the horrifying murder of his pregnant wife Sharon Tate, and perhaps this personal tragedy helps explain the brutality and the cruelty which appears throughout the film. Additional scenes that are not shown in Shakespear’s play were added, such as the execution of Thane of Cawdor and the murder of Ducan. Also, some drammatic soliloquies are presented as voice-over realistic. Some critics complained about the violence of the film, but others praised it as an original interpretation of Shakespear’s tragedy.

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