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Macbeth (1948)

Passed | | Drama, History, War | 23 June 1950 (France)
Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.

Director:

Orson Welles

Writer:

William Shakespeare (by)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Orson Welles ... Macbeth
Jeanette Nolan ... Lady Macbeth
Dan O'Herlihy ... Macduff
Roddy McDowall ... Malcolm
Edgar Barrier ... Banquo
Alan Napier ... A Holy Father
Erskine Sanford ... Duncan
John Dierkes ... Ross
Keene Curtis ... Lennox
Peggy Webber ... Lady Macduff / The Three
Lionel Braham ... Siward
Archie Heugly Archie Heugly ... Young Siward
Jerry Farber Jerry Farber ... Fleance
Christopher Welles Christopher Welles ... Macduff Child
Morgan Farley ... Doctor
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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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Entertainment Greatness . . . That Only Motion Picture Magic Can Bring !

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin

Release Date:

23 June 1950 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Макбет See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$900,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mercury Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Orson Welles had planned to take his company and put on the play at the Utah Centennial Festival in Salt Lake city. With costumes and props at his disposal, Welles rehearsed his company and shot this film in 21 days. See more »

Goofs

Duncan and his men renew their baptismal vows with a prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII in 1884. See more »

Quotes

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

Alternate Versions

The 89-minute version, recut by studio executives, and redubbed by Welles and the other actors to cut down on the Scottish accents, also omitted some of the play's most famous lines, e.g. "Double, double, toil and trouble", the whole second half of the "If it were done when 'tis done" speech, the line "I have supp'd full with horrors", some of the "Is this a dagger which I see before me" speech, as well as the entire conversation between Macbeth and the murderers in which he persuades them to kill Banquo. See more »

Connections

Version of Was ihr wollt (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Orson's Passion
11 July 2006 | by OttoVonBSee 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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