ming movie reviews

in about 100 words or less

Macbeth (1948)

US 107m, B&W
Director: Orson Welles; Cast: Orson Welles, Jeanette Nolan, Dan O’Herlihy, Roddy McDowall

macbeth1948Macbeth, as envisioned by Welles is an unorthodox production which is shaped by not only the film maker’s unique sensibilities, but by budgetary circumstances beyond his control. Shot in three weeks for a reported $700,000, the film has the look of a low-budget science-fiction horror film which employed a cast of ancient-tongued Scottish actors who appeared to be re-enacting a Reader’s Digest version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. In view of these peculiarities, this initially maligned production was neither accessible for general movie going audiences of the day, or authentic enough for more traditional literary fans. As such, it is little wonder that Macbeth has long been little more than a curiosity, and admired for its esoteric sensibilities (Klaus Ming October 2011).

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6 comments on “Macbeth (1948)

  1. Anthony Lee Collins
    10/09/2011

    I saw it once (and reviewed it here: http://u-town.com/collins/?p=2194), but despite my enthusiasm for Welles I’ve never wanted to see it again. Definitely the weakest of his Shakespeare films, and, as I look over the list, I’d say it’s the worst of his films overall. Why waste time seeing it when I could watch Kane, or Ambersons, or The Trial, or Touch of Evil, or Arkadin, or Falstaff, or…

    • Klaus
      10/10/2011

      I tried hard to like it – a difficult task.

  2. Chris, a librarian
    10/10/2011

    My favorite Macbeth might be the 70’s Polanski version. That’s assuming you don’t count Throne of Blood which is one of my favorite movies of any kind.

  3. Anthony Lee Collins
    10/11/2011

    I should check that out. Other than Chinatown, I never saw any Polanski pictures until I saw The Ninth Gate. Since then, I’ve seen The Ghost Writer. I think that’s it (though I’ve see The Ninth Gate a bunch of times).

  4. joem18b
    10/11/2011

    Be interesting to know how Welles would have made out now, as a young man, with the technology available to go low-budget and still produce high quality.

    • Anthony Lee Collins
      10/11/2011

      I read an article a year or two ago, by somebody who knew Welles in the last years of his life, and he (Welles) was really interested in the possibilities of video at that time.

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This entry was posted on 10/09/2011 by in 1940s, All, Unlisted and tagged .
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