Macbeth (1971)

ROMAN POLANSKI

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Alternate title:  The Tragedy Of Macbeth

United Kingdom/USA, 1971.  Columbia Pictures, Playboy Productions, Caliban Films.  Screenplay by Roman Polanski, , based on the play by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by Anthony Mendleson.  Film Editing by .  National Board of Review Awards 1971.  

Roman Polanski returned to filmmaking for the first time after the brutal murder of his wife Sharon Tate and their unborn baby by the Manson family, and the project he undertook was this visually bold adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy. In it, Macbeth () takes the throne of Scotland by murdering the present king and using the divination of a group of witches to aid him. All is not well after the coup, however, when corruption comes from within, his wife () starting to suffer from guilt and his son growing up to seek revenge upon him and take him to task for his actions. The dialogue is handled skillfully, with Polanski’s energetic direction never allowing the pace to slow down for a moment. Curiously enough, the film was produced by Hugh Hefner’s Playboy productions, though don’t let that lead you into thinking it’s in any way a Playmate Video of any kind: the only major nudity comes from the ladies playing the aged witches. Exciting stuff, this is a memorable film of one of the Bard’s better-known works.

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