Macbeth | Chicago Reader


92 minutes 2013

Orson Welles's 1948 production, made on a short schedule and a tiny budget for Republic Pictures. (Some 20 minutes of footage and the original Scottish-accented sound track were replaced in the 80s in a UCLA Film Archive restoration, though it's still the least of Welles's Shakespearean adaptations.) Welles makes no serious attempt to present the language of the play; instead, this one is all atmosphere and movement, filmed on forthrightly stagy sets with a restlessly tracking camera. Welles's Macbeth is no more than adequate, though his rise and fall follows the personal, punitive patterns of all Welles films, and Jeanette Nolan's Lady M is a near disaster. Still, there is force in this rough, hasty rendering; the sheer speed of the pacing gives it a quality of crushing delirium.

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