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Macbeth


CaveGirl
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I always enjoy watching the version of "Macbeth" with Orson Welles due to the amazing cast and the cinematography which is rather Eisensteinian, but mainly to see Jeanette Nolan.

 

I think she gives an incredible performance and it is all the more spectacular if one has mostly seen her play the more down to earth American characters who are homespun and rural, which she is probably more known for, even though she had an extensive career both on stage and screen. Though she was in films like "The Big Heat" I do think she is known more for tv work.

 

Though she is always wonderful playing the little mother or even a diabolical one, to see her as Lady Macbeth is quite the revelation. So I watched for that reason, but it was also exciting to see folks like Roddy MacDowall and other greats in smaller parts.

 

I enjoyed all the Shakespearean adaptations on last night, particulary "King Lear". Having owned the "Hamlet" version of Laurence Olivier I did not rewatch it. Anyone else enjoy these films?

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MACBETH was originally released by Republic at 88 minutes in a version with all the voices re-dubbed without the Scottish accents.   The picture had been previewed and received heavy criticism for its Scottish "burr" dialect so, despite a published letter by Herbert Yates congratulating Welles on an historic screen achievement, the studio cut the picture and remade the soundtrack.  It took a year-and-a-half before Republic let it out for general release in 1950.  Welles had little control over the exhibition as the picture was a co-production with Charles K. Feldman Productions.

 

Back in the 80's, I believe, the original version was resuscitated and released on tape by NTA/Republic.  This is the version that is now commonly shown. Apparently the compete version was, however, made available for international bookings as I have a British print from the 60's and it is the original complete release.

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"Macbeth" is such a dark and twisted tale.

 

Orson Welles' inspired visualization was the perfect accompaniment.

 

This was the scariest "Macbeth" that I have ever seen.

 

Jeanette Nolan was everywhere.

 

I recently saw her and her husband, John McIntire, on "The Virginian".

 

And I recently saw her in a scary episode on "The Night Gallery".

 

And who could forget her supporting Troy Donahue and Joey Heatherton in "My Blood Runs Cold"?

 

She was such a versatile and terrific talent. 

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>>>>>I enjoyed all the Shakespearean adaptations on last night, particulary "King Lear". Having owned the "Hamlet" version of Laurence Olivier I did not rewatch it. Anyone else enjoy these films? ---CaveGirl

----------------------------------

 

"I did her wrong."

 

[...snip...]

 

That vile and chilling speech to Goneril coarses through all the way to the bone (and I'm not a woman). That lingering close up showing his eyes. I would have thought Goneril might still have been above this, disturbing as it may be coming from a father, but what with along with sister more or less having lost all respect for the old man to even care, I was taken aback at her tears. A touch of humanity even among the wicked. That Shakespeare for you, rarely is a person, even the main protagonist, is neither all black nor white, but in grey all in all.

 

The Death of Cordelia was the less sentimental I've ever seen in any Lear. Usually, the linger over that.

 

Edmunds' "Nature, thou are my goddess," speech was left out, only a few lines scattered over a short time. We still get the idea but they should have left that in IMO, it's not that long, and it defines him. As in an opera, the villainous one always has the big aria to declaim his nature to the world and in no uncertain terms. They shoulda left it in.

 

Love that ruggedly and frigid countryside, the storm. Did you notice how during these scenes, the camera was positioned behind a streaming wet window. I liked the effect. The lack of true perspective of their faces is made to perhaps provide an inkling of what was going on inside during those harrowing, sop-laden scenes. 

 

I liked the off-center camera, seeming (at times) to rove so that we could only see half the face as the lines are spoken.

 

The deaths of Goneril and Regen (not as in the play) were done with great economy, not even sure exactly how that came about. What was Goneril doing with all that moving around. I didn't go back for a second look (VHS). As with most if not all Shakespeare adaptations, time constraints rule.

 

I had trouble hearing some of what was being said. I don't normally think of subtitles in Shakespeare movies as necessarily a good thing (why not laffite?), but it was needed here.

 

Regarding the opening quote above, I doubt that there is any controversy about who Lear was talking about when he said that, but for new readers (and viewers) it may not be so obvious.

 

Thanks

 

,

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