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3.6 out of 5 stars
19
Macbeth (1983) (BBC) (DVD)
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Price:£9.20+ Free shipping


TOP 100 REVIEWERon 12 August 2017
This BBC production of Macbeth may, or may not be, the best performance of the play (personal preferences and all that!) BUT what it is, is close to the text itself so perfect for purpose - to use alongside the study of the play. In that respect alone it's excellent. I am given understand that this production is actually the one most faithful to the play. The BBC, in 1978, filmed the Shakespeare plays for TV and this is one of those performances - they are as all 'loyal to text' as was possible.
Purchased my copy as 'used/very good' (at a minimal cost of a little over £2!) and it arrived in excellent condition (both the disc itself and the outer case ) so thank you! An excellent purchase. Well presented, well packaged with excellent Amazon delivery.
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on 25 March 2016
Bargain price video rapidly delivered. pleased with purchase
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on 24 March 2005
I own several on screen versions of Macbeth, including the RSC version with Ian McKellen and Judi Dench, the 2001 RSC version directed by Gregory Doran, and the Roman Polanski cinematic version, so I believe I can safely say that the BBC Macbeth is the one I was most impressed with. Both Nicol Williamson and Jane Lapotaire give impressive performances. Williamson manages to realistically portray Macbeth as a terrified man, and Lapotaire is perfect as Lady Macbeth. This film explores the psychological dimension of the play to a much greater extent than other filmed versions, which emphasize the political. Here, the director delves into the protagonist's mind, and the result is tremendous.
There are many memorable moments in this film, such as Nicol Williamson wringing his hands behind his back as he knows his deed is about to be discovered, Jane Lapotaire with bloody hands pushing her husband towards the bedroom, or the terror in Lady Macduff's eyes as her child is slaughtered.
I also liked the lighting effects at the opening of the play, especially the use of colours for the sky.
I highly recommend this Macbeth to all those who truly appreciate Shakespeare.
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on 9 April 2015
everything fine.
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on 27 March 2015
For work
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on 11 September 2015
Arrived as and when required.
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on 24 January 2015
Everything perfect.
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on 8 November 2016
Enter the myth of the tyrant and his end. The story is so well known that it does not surprise us any more. Macbeth is superstitious, so he believes oracles. But he is on the dark side of the moon, so he only accepts oracles from witches, the weird sisters who are three of course. More about it later. He is a military man, a soldier, a warrior, so he believes in violence, and yet he knows he should be cautious, so he hesitates, but once he has crossed his Rubicon, that is going to be his Styx he cannot come back at all and will go right through his fate. But he is weak in a way, in his very hesitation, and he needs some support that he finds in his Lady Macbeth, a very sly, neurotic and even vicious woman who ends badly since she started badly, thus expanding another title into “All’s bad that ends bad.” And it sure does.

We are in Scotland, with England in the background, as usual and as always. When will Scotland be of age and walk on her own feet? The old king is murdered by Macbeth who seizes the throne and luckily the two sons of the old king, Malcolm and Donalbain, have managed to leave before the assassination. They are accused of the assassination of course. And after that first crime Macbeth is on a killing road and he gets rid of his own associate Banquo and his family, and he will go on and on, including the whole family and household of Macduff. When you come to the end of the play you can count a good dozen, if not more, of assassinations of nobles and their families. If we counted the servants and household people we would probably come close to one hundred.

And that’s when everything is getting sour because of the initial crime. The prediction or prophesy of the three weird sisters is of course sibylline. Macbeth is to be killed by a man not born from a woman and when Great Birnam Wood shall advance against Dunsinane hill. He will be killed by Macduff who was ripped out of his mother’s womb and the coming army of Malcolm cuts branches in Great Birnam Wood and carries them in front so that the wood is moving to Dunsinane. But in the meantime Lady Macbeth had become completely insane with guilt, sleepwalking and washing her hands all the time, in fact rubbing them all the time. And she dies, commits suicide just before the final battle. Malcolm arrives in Dunsinane after Macbeth’s death and is given the crown.

This production is contained mostly inside Macbeth’s castle with essentially one outside setting for the three witches who work under a dolmen, or standing stones, finding in that a Celtic background. Yet these three weird sisters are not plain witches. They are a typical impersonation of the triple goddess Shakespeare likes so much. First the triple goddess herself, Hecate, the goddess of the underworld and death, who is here the “boss” of the three weird sisters, then Selene, the goddess of the moon and night, and finally Diana, the goddess of life in the forest and pregnant women. This triple goddess is often referred to as Demeter and her symbols are either a pinecone or a female wolf. Then you have the three Furies or Erinyes who are spinning, measuring and cutting the thread of our life. Then you have many others in Europe. For example the Germanic trinity of women — the three Beten. Their given names are Ambet, Borbet, Wilbet, standing for earth, the sun and the moon, respectively red, white and black goddesses.

What is surprising is the mention of these three witches in Elizabethan times. Shakespeare probably took advantage of the slight relaxation Elizabeth introduced concerning witches probably since her mother Anne Boleyn was accused of witchcraft. Unluckily for witches James I was to retighten the vice on witchcraft because he was really afraid if not superstitious about it. Is Shakespeare alluding to that fact? Difficult to know, even if Macbeth is positioned in Scotland. Yet the play was written in 1606, three years after the coronation of James I in London. In Shakespeare’s days the connection must have been made. It would be interesting to find out what the reaction of the new king of England was.

The pattern of the elimination of all the protagonists except those who managed to escape Macbeth’s clutch before he could catch them. The present production is slightly surprising by the appearance of a second young man, the age of Malcolm, the new king, in front of the people assembled at that time in a circle around Malcolm. This young man is outside the circle, between the circle and the dead body of Macbeth on the steps leading to the throne and the image turns reddish and fades out in that reddish shade. We can understand it may be the brother Donalbain with thus some insinuation from the director that the two brothers are going to recreate the Cain and Abel biblical myth. But I do not see that in the text of the play. That kind of situation is not common in Shakespeare, though I can think of two brothers in Titus Andronicus: of course Titus and Marcus, but there is no rivalry between the two, and Saturninus and Bassianus, the two sons of the dead emperor who are going to enter a conflict that will lead the elder son and brother to killing his younger brother. But this case is not common. There are many rivalries between couples of men but most of them are not brothers and not even relatives.

I find this production interesting though maybe slightly stiff for a television production. The weird sisters could have been enhanced with some simple special effects for example, and the advancing Great Birnam Wood could have been shown instead of just being reported.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 18 July 2017
With palely coloured sets, simple costumes, subtle photography, intelligent direction by TV veteran Jack Gold, and one or two stunning performances, this TV Macbeth {from 1983} is one to treasure.
First and foremost, plaudits to the late Nicol Williamson, himself a Scot, who is thrilling in the title role, with line readings that illuminate rather than obfuscate, a witty, mercurial presence in the early scenes, giving way to jumpy paranoia after he becomes king. His is a Macbeth that is totally convincing, beautifully spoken {though most of the cast whisper a little too much ~ blame the director} and richly rewarding, whether you already know this most perfectly-written play or not.
His ambitious Lady is played by Jane Lapotaire, an actress we seldom see these days {perhaps partly due to a past illness}. She and Williamson work well together, though I was worried at first as her initial monologue seemed a little forced. No such worries after that.
That superb actor Ian Hogg is a fine, unfazed Banquo, and James Hazeldine is excellent as Malcolm, while Tony Doyle is, particularly in the later scenes, a powerful, noble Macduff. His final fight with Macbeth is vividly done, with the camera in close-up on his fierce face, his slashing sword eloquent testimony to the grief-fuelled hatred he feels.
The witches, whom we first see on a rock in a huddle like a bunch of rags, are suitably scabbed and filthy, without lapsing into caricature, and are led by the splendid Brenda Bruce.
Gawn Grainger is a rather bland Ross, and Jill Baker works hard in her brief role as Lady Macduff. I was wondering who the Porter would be and, after a minute or so, realised it was none other than James Bolam. Good choice.
My heart would give this five stars, because so much of it works so well; my head tells me to be slightly less generous. . .
But I love this Macbeth, so hauntingly personified by the thunderously good Nicol Williamson, and wouldn't be without it.
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on 9 August 2016
Sadly this is one of the dullest productions of Macbeth that I've ever seen.
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