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Macbeth [DVD] [1971] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.5 out of 5 stars 123 customer reviews

Price: £13.04
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Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.
£13.04 In stock. Dispatched from and sold by RAREWAVES USA.

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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000063JZQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,248 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
When we think of screen Shakespeare, as in the theatre, we generally refer to the lead role... Brannagh's 'Henry V', or Gibson's 'Hamlet'. Despite the fact that I cannot think of an actor or actress in this production, from the King to the gate-keeper, who does not succeed admirably, yet this will always be Polanski's 'Macbeth'. The style and power of the direction are the dominant impression of this piece.
Brutally medieval in portrayal and attitude, this is a grim telling of a grim tale which captivated me entirely. At once theatrical, stunningly visual and historically believable, Polanski for me has not only done full justice to the language and drama of the work but has presented the rugged, uncertain, internecene way of life of the period so starkly that the devices of the play are seen in a truly medieval light... this production has been described as vicious, brutal, visceral... well, it is, but above all I find it credible. I think, to date, that I cannot identify a better screen production of a Shakespeare work.
If anyone still believes that The Bard does not translate to the modern age, this film should be prescribed!
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Format: DVD
Picture this: Circa 1975, A class of 32 bored, inner city school, O level English kids, dragged off to an arts cinema to see a showing of Polanski's Macbeth. We settled down for a boring couple of hours messing about and talking. Five minutes into the film, you could have heard a pin drop. We were hooked.
We went from complete disinterest, to shakespeare fans in one afternoon. I will always be grateful to that young english teacher (whatever her name was?) for igniting a lifelong interest in literature. If our Headmaster/parents had known what we were going to see, I'm sure the trip would never have happened! But the quality of acting was such, that suddenly we all knew and understood olde worlde english, something which carried on through other plays we studied. We were lucky enough to have our study of Romeo & Juliet underpinned with another of Polanski's films- exam results were good that year!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Anyone who considers Shakespeare boring would be well advised to watch this film. It is not for the fainthearted and it may give you nightmares, but it is gripping as it gathers pace towards the final white-knuckle-ride climax. The Olivier-type 'Shakespeak' which the actors use is rather jarring at times but it is well compensated for by the atmosphere created by Polanski and supported by music of the ethereal Third Ear Band. Martin Shaw steals the show with his portrayl of Banquo supported, suprisingly well, by a rather youthful Keith Chegwin playing his son. Cheggers escapes the clutches of Macbeth's murderous assassins unlike his father who returns as a spectre to haunt Macbeth.
As a youth I worked as an extra in this film, one of the many trees forming Birnam Wood approaching Dunsinane Castle. This involved many of us carrying a christmas tree across the moors of North Northumberland many times in adverse weather conditions. Everyone was cold and wet most of the time with interminable hanging around between shoots usually while 'Leo' with his smoke gun kept falling off his motorbike into peat bogs (mist features heavily in this film). Contrary to the sleeve notes, many of the scenes were filmed in the stunning scenery of Northumberland, including Lindisfarne Castle and Bamburgh Castle.
A must for GCSE students in my opinion to fire the enthusiasm for this play, the name of which must not be uttered!
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This was the first time I'd seen this film since I was studying Macbeth for GCSE, and the main thing I remembered about it was Martin Shaw (then mainly of Professionals fame) as Banquo - and the coronation scene, where Macbeth is lifted on the shield. The latter is in fact one of many visually striking moments, Polanski milking one of Shakespeare's most potentially 'filmic' stories for all it is worth. The fighting and killing is pretty full-blooded for 1971, though it might seem a bit limp today.

Like a lot of more recent Shakespeare films, though, this is stronger on spectacle than dialogue. A lot of the soliloquies are internalised - ie. the actor 'thinks' them, speaking them only as voiceover. It's an interesting idea, but rather hamstrings the acting possibilities. Mr and Mrs Macbeth (as my daughter calls them) are both a bit neurotic, and in general the cast are short on the traditional Shakespearean skills - most importantly, understanding the lines yourself and helping the audience to understand them. A lot of the lines feel rushed, the result of trying to a apply a more modern acting style, and overall the meditative aspect of the story is lost. But I have to say, with all its faults, I'd much rather sit through this than a camp, stagey version like the BBC one with Gandalf and M. Or, to be honest, one in broad Scauttish accents...
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Format: VHS Tape
I actually prefer this to the Nicol Williamson and Orson Wells versions of Macbeth. Polanski assembled a relatively unknown cast and got some great performances out of them. The cinematography is about as atmospheric as it gets. Polanski, as always, gets great visual results from his cinematographer. When one compares the results of this adaptation, financed by Playboy, with Caligula, fronted by Bob Guccione, one has to come away with at least some admiration for Heffner. At least he kept his hands off the production. This was Polanski circa the late 60's, about the time he filmed "The Fearless Vampire Killers "(one of my all-time favorite neglected masterworks), and before "Chinatown "(hardly neglected, yet exquisite direction, nevertheless). From "Macbeth's" opening frame on the bleak, windswept Scottish heath, to the closing image, this production is consistently stark( Even though it's not filmed in black-and-white, it feels like it is). It also contains one of the most moving cinematic treatments I've seen when conveying Macduff's agonizing sense of loss as he reacts to the report of Macbeth's attack upon his helpless family. Macduff's sense of self-recrimination as he admits he was not there to defend his wife and children (truly one of the most heart-rending moments in cinema history for me) comes across as genuine and heartfelt.
Polanski is a troubled genius, no doubt... We probably would have witnessed many more thought-provoking productions, akin to this one.
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