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Macbeth (1948)

Passed | | Drama, History, War | 23 June 1950 (France)
In 11th century Scotland, nobleman Macbeth and his wife plot to murder the king and usurp the throne in order to fulfill an evil prophecy made by three witches.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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John Dierkes ...
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Lionel Braham ...
Archie Heugly ...
Jerry Farber ...
Christopher Welles ...
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Storyline

In fog-dripping, barren and sometimes macabre settings, 11th-century Scottish nobleman Macbeth is led by an evil prophecy and his ruthless yet desirable wife to the treasonous act that makes him king. But he does not enjoy his newfound, dearly-won kingship... Restructured, but all the dialogue is Shakespeare's. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

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Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

23 June 1950 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Макбет  »

Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(cut) | (premiere) | (restored video)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All three of the actors who played the witches also played another character: Peggy Webber played Lady Macduff, Lurene Tuttle played the Gentlewoman and the male Brainerd Duffield played the First Murderer. See more »

Goofs

In one scene, you see Duncan in a crowd holding a lighted candle. The film cuts to a close up of Duncan and he is holding an unlit candle, the next cut back to Duncan in a crowd again holding a lighted candle. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
The ThreeThe ThreeThe Three: Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
See more »

Connections

Version of Macbeth (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Orson's Passion
11 July 2006 | by (Switzerland) – See all my reviews

Lord Macbeth encounters witches that foresee his ascension to power and finally to the throne. Driven on by this prophecy and his ambitious and manipulative wife, Macbeth plots, betrays and murders to become King. This is Shakespeare at his most bleak, pessimistic and chilling.

Orson Welles, a lover of Shakespeare from an early age, would make three attempts to bring the Bard to the screen. Each attempt has the same strengths (ambition, performance, Welles himself and visual genius) and weaknesses (a beggar's budget). Of these three attempts (the other two being Othello and Chimes at Midnight), Macbeth is the least handicapped by technical difficulties, even if is the weakest overall.

Welles used borrowed costumes and unusual locations (such as an abandoned mine) and shot them in a staggeringly surreal way that greatly enhances the overall quality. As an adaptation, his Macbeth is very faithful in spirit, and trimmings in the text serve only to make it more cinematic and compliant with limited resources. Never, to the star/director's credit, does this feel like a "small" film. Rather, it is inspirational, and traces of it's genius can be found in Kurosawa's version, "Throne of Blood", shot ten years later.

Essential viewing. Especially for those in Europe who have access to Wild Side's beautiful new transfer of the full 115 minute version.


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