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3.4 out of 5 stars24
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 29 December 2011
This must be one of the least known film versions of Macbeth, but one of the best in terms of clarity. I use it for teaching at GCSE, as it follows the script better than most versions, and there are few "artistic" flourishes on the part of the director, just the story told well.
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on 1 May 2009
It's nice to see an actual adaptation of Macbeth for once. The acting is all up to standard and directing all seems decent.

This adaptation finally takes the Macbeth script literally as opposed to throwing it around and putting it into whatever setting they can think of (Drug lords? Vietnam? AN ESTATE IN BIRMINGHAM?), not that this determines it's quality but unlike Romeo & Juliet I don't think this story works in different scenarios.

It's also worth mentioning the modesty of this version - like the play, we never see the violent killing of the king, just Macbeth returning from the room, blood on hands, with the line "I have done the deed". Again, a stabbing scene doesn't determine a bad movie but the modesty of not including one when it would be so tempting to is admirable.

You won't find hundreds of old, naked witches here, nor will you see blood splattering all over the walls (They showed us that BBC adaptation when I was in school, and called it educational! Try showing a modern story with that amount of blood and nudity to kids and you'll find yourself in trouble), you won't see football hooligans, Vietnam soldiers or drug lords, this is just pure Macbeth. It may not be perfection, but it's satisfying.
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on 2 September 2013
Returning from battle with his companion s Banquo (Graham MacTavish), the nobleman Macbeth (Jason Connery) meets some witches (Hildegard Neil, Jean Trend and Phillipa Peak) One of the witches in this production is young anf fairly attractive which makes Banquo's comment 'What are these
So wither'd and so wild in their attire,
That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,
And yet are on't? Live you? or are you aught
That man may question? You seem to understand me,
By each at once her choppy finger laying
Upon her skinny lips: you should be women,
And yet your beards forbid me to interpret
That you are so'. slightly in-congruent in he case. But the mechanism. But the method is clearly to make one of the witches a younger one still in training.
They predict that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and then king of Scotland. After the first part of the witches prophecy comes true he begins to think the second part may also come true. Encouraged by Lady Macbeth, his wife (played by the lovely Helen Baxendale) Macbeth murders King Duncan (John Corvin), a guest in his castle and then seizes the throne of Scotland. He embarks on a reign of tyranny, murder and paranoia.

Baxendale in my opinion the star of the show with her perfect Scottish accent, and the way in which every inflection in her script carries the passion and right nuances in it.
Stunning background scenery, a deliciously gory Banquo's ghost , riveting authentic battle scenes and a faithfulness to the scrip not seen in other film adaptations of Macbeth. I enjoyed this version throughout, and it easily matches up to the 1971 Polanski version.
Really authentic and captures the scene of 11th century Scotland and the spirit of the play immaculately.
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on 17 January 2010
Many amazon reviewers have made their criticisms of this version of Macbeth and I find no need to add to that discussion. MACBETH is my favourite work by Shakespeare and any version is of interest to me.

What this review is about is the actual DVD. First it should be mentioned that this is a dutch import Region 2 disc. The good news is that it does have removable dutch subtitles but no english subtitles. Unfortunately that is the only good news for this disc.

The specifications list this disc as 16x9 widescreen letterbox. This is quite untrue. On a 4x3 television with the 4x3 setting this widescreen effect is achieved by squashing the image down to a 1.75:1 widescreen format. This makes this Macbeth look like Macbeth the hobbit, with shortened bodies and flattened faces. To restore the image to a watchable format the setting on a 4x3 tv must then be set to 16x9 to correct the squashed effect and of course this creates a full frame (pan and scan) image. This image and the print shows multiple artifacts, print damage, hairs and grain. What you are left with is a VHS quality transfer.

Unlike a reviewer mentioned asian issue, audio sync is okay, but certainly not 5.1 standards. The 'making of' featurette on this issue is also a furphy. It is simply 19 minutes on the most well known scenes from the story and is most annoyingly in the correct widescreen format, as is the trailer. The 150 minute running time is also deceptive. The feature is 92.22 minutes, the trailer is 2.15 minutes.

This is, for me, a fine version of Macbeth but as a DVD, Caveat Emptor.
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on 23 April 2015
We chose this because some of the versions were for 16+ and we were only in Years 8 and 9. It keeps moving and the action is easy to follow, but I have known productions where the actors' style of speaking was much clearer. This has nothing to do with all the actors being Scottish which is a good idea, but something to do with how it was directed. Personally I thought Jason Connery came over too "modern" and not sufficiently "noble" at the beginning, to be Macbeth, but the way he is manipulated by the women in the play and the possibility that Lady Macb. is also a witch ( or at least adopts the side of evil) comes over well. His fairly modern appearance may help younger viewers to identify with what happened to him. I was disappointed with Burnham Woods' performance, but never mind.
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on 2 January 2014
This film is maybe the best adaptation ever made, comparing for example to Roman Polansky's. The actors are fantastic. For all those who love Shakespeare at his best
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on 23 September 2013
A film set in Scotland with the best of Scottish actors. A real treat & Jason is the best Macbeth I've seen on film.
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on 2 October 2013
This refers to the Prime Time Studio release.

Good film, pity about the poor quality of the DVD.

1. The film has been stretched from 4:3 to 1.85:1 widescreen (very annoying = 1 star)
2. The source material is poor (must have been taken from a VHS tape = 1 star)
3. The dialogue is so soft at times it is difficult to understand (annoying = 2 stars)
3. I know most of the play by heart some of the dialogue has been altered sequentially (moderately annoying = 3 stars)
4. No English subtitles (= 1 star)
5. Good production although the casting was way off at times;
(i) the witches were as far removed from Shakespeare's description as could have possibly been
(ii) King Duncan - John Corvin (born 1911) was way too old for the part.
(= 3 stars)
6. Value for money; @GBP 9.25 = overpriced (= 1 star)

I liked the acting, the Scottish accents and settings, but as I said, pity about the poor quality of the DVD.

I would be interested to receive comments from anyone that purchased the Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment studio release, to compare the quality of that DVD.
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on 5 January 2008
I'm sorry but this is just rubbish. It's a really cheap and pointless production. There has been no real thought gone into it and there is nothing original or insightful regarding the tragedy that is MacBeth.

Here are some problems:
1) The character of MacBeth - Connery's portrayal of MacBeth lacks nuance or emotion, it is in fact the dullest portrayal of the central character I have yet seen. Finch's MacBeth (from Polanksi's production) emphasizes that MacBeth has a conscience and was a great man who met a sordid downfall on account of making a fateful decision (to kill the King), Finche's is a nuanced interpretation his tyranny as much a product of need to control as it is a manifestation of insane power lust; Welles's MacBeth is more or less devoid of conscience but rather fears the consequences that his 'amoral' act may reap, he is a fearsome tyrant and Welles produces a fine display of evil-inspired power striving; McKellan plays MacBeth (in Nunn's production) in a manner similar to Welles, not quite as well and more hammy but nevertheless he offers a particular interpretaton and remains faithful to that; similarly Sher (in Doran's production) shows MacBeth to be more like the portrayal of Finch, again I would say not as well but again a consistent portrayal.
Connery however (and this is also a fault of the direction) provides no real interpretation to speak of. The notion of MacBeth being a great man with a conscience that meets his downfall is not emphasized here, nor is the tyranny thereafter; I'm sorry but Connery is too much of a baby face to be a tyrant, and he is too bad an actor to portray MacBeth's struggle with his conscience.
2) Use of music - incredibly amateurish. Blessed who is a good chum of Branagh has obviously followed his mentor's lead into ineptitude. Branagh hasn't got a clue about how to use music in cinema and Blessed is no better in this respect. He uses music in all the wrong places sometimes where there is no call for music at all. Where Lady MacBeth is convincing MacBeth of the necessity of going through with the deed of killing Duncan we have continual soppy love music in the background - it just doesn't work. For the most part, overuse of music in Shakespeare is criminal. Shakespeare isn't opera, we are required to concentrate on the language not lose ourselves in the music. The directors haven't grasped this simple concept.
3) Details - I believe this production was shot in Edinburgh castle. Regardless, the castle is too grand to be a thane's, no way could the MacBeths afford a place like this! Then there is the anachronism of having windows - MacBeth is supposedly early 11th century when windows were not common place until about 100-200 years later.
4) No clear direction - why do we see MacBeth the killer on the battle field? We see him as hesitating before killing a soldier, why? I don't understand this at all. Surely one irony of MacBeth is that he is a merciless killing machine on the battlefield but wracked with conscience when it comes to killing in cold blood hence his difficulty in killing the King. In this film he seems to have less trouble in killing the King than he does killing a soldier on the battlefield...rubbish! Why do we even see MacBeth killing the King? Why do we see Lady MacBeth finishing him off? In Polanski's version we see MacBeth hesitating in killing Duncan but then going through with it only at the point where the King recognizes him and poignantly calls 'MacBeth' before crying out - for MacBeth at this point it is kill or be killed and it is more like a battlefield situation for him again. In the production reviewed here the murder scene appears completely confused and adds nothing to the plot.
5) Lack of drama and excitement - the Banquo ghost scene is pathetic, there is no drama from Connery, it just doesn't work; the scene after MacDuff discovers Duncan is also staid and undramatic. It is just rubbish!

Are there any good points? Hmmmm...I actually think Baxendale makes a fair stab at Lady MacBeth in spite of the dire directorship. In the hands of more able directors she might have been very good in fact.
Apart from that it is all complete rubbish!
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on 5 June 2016
Quite a good film version for showing to students, but vastly overpriced and the soundtrack is very feint - I should really have returned this, but needed to show my class a version of Macbeth without any naked witches.
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