Blurbs about the books that I read about Macbeth are in a separate blog entry.
- Macbeth (1983) with Nicol Williamson, Jane Lapotaire, Ian Hogg, Tony Doyle, Mark Dignam; directed by Jack Gold. This painfully bad film version suffers the most from its cast. Nicol Williamson as Macbeth and Jane Lapotaire as Lady Macbeth are particularly horrendous. You remember in school when you were taught iambic pentameter, and the teacher made you read it like da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum, da-dum? And then it took a while to realize that while you keep the rhythm, you never actually speak the lines in such a pointed manner. Well, someone should have told Nicol Williamson that. There is a scene where he actually says the lines like da-dum, da-dum, da-dum. It's ridiculous. You can clap along to it if you'd like. He does it three separate times. As bad as his performance is, Jane Lapotaire's is worse. When we first meet Lady Macbeth, she is reading the letter from her husband. Jane Lapotaire's reading is so odd; it's like she has it partly memorized, though it's a letter she's just received. Also, her breathy delivery becomes annoying very quickly. And please tell Jane Lapotaire that "unsex me" does not mean "fuck me." She lies on the bed on her back with her legs open on that line, taking a submissive pose, when really the line means that she wants to assume strength. Bitch, if you don't know what a word means, look it up. She is terrible. Macbeth's aside "Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor/The greatest is behind" is done as voice over (which you would think would set a pattern, but no). Macbeth faces us for the "dagger" speech, which places the phantom dagger in our hands, basically - an odd choice. The bit where Lady Macbeth is pulling (and then pushing) Macbeth to get him to move after they hear the knocking is so laughable, you have to see it to believe it. It's Macbeth, the comedy. (And then she re-enacts that silliness during the sleepwalking scene - oh boy.) Macbeth's delivery of "To be thus is nothing" is so over the top, I burst out laughing. But it's not nearly as funny as the abrupt end of his speech when interrupted. In this version, the third murderer murders the first and second after their botched attempt to murder Fleance, something that Shakespeare did not write (in fact, in the next scene it's supposed to be the first murderer that talks with Macbeth). In this version, Banquo's Ghost does not appear, at least not to us. We see an empty chair, not what Macbeth sees (though Shakespeare fully intended us to see Banquo in that scene, as shown by the stage direction "Enter the Ghost of Banquo"). Heccat is cut from Act IV Scene i. The Apparitions from that scene do not appear; instead they are simply voices that we hear while forced to watch a closeup of Macbeth trying to act. There are some good things in this production. Not every performance is awful. For example, Ian Hogg is good as Banquo, and John Woodnutt is good as Doctor. And the Witches are pretty good. The deaths of Lady Macduff and her son are done well. There are some nice shots. I like the shot of the portcullis coming down; it's a nice image. And there are some nice camera moves. We don't see Macbeth's death. And what's with the weird cliffhanger ending? Geez. (time: 148 minutes)
- The Tragedy Of Macbeth (1971) with Jon Finch, Francesca Annis, Martin Shaw, Terence Bayler, Diane Fletcher, Ian Hogg; directed by Roman Polanksi. This version of Macbeth is pretty wild, and suffers only from abundant use of voice over. In the opening scene, the three witches bury a noose and a severed hand with a dagger in the sand at a beach. One of the witches is younger, which is cool. There are sounds of battle over the opening credit sequence. Act I Scene iii begins with Macbeth's line "So foul and fair a day I have not seen," thus cutting the witches' lines at the beginning. One of the witches flashes Macbeth. Macbeth's aside, "Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor;/The greatest is behind" is done as voice over, as is his next aside, "This supernatural soliciting/Cannot be ill, cannot be good..." We see the execution of Cawdor right before Malcolm's line, "Nothing in his life became him/Like the leaving of it." After Lady Macbeth reads the letter, her lines are done as voice over. After that, we go back to Scene iv for the entrance of Macbeth and Banquo. We see Macbeth's household preparing for Duncan's arrival. Lady Macbeth's speech that starts "The raven himself is hoarse" is moved to just before Duncan's arrival, and is done as voice over as she watches his approach. (As I said, there is so much voice over in this film.) During the feast, Macbeth does his "If it were done, when 'tis done, then 'twere well/It were done quickly" speech as voice over as he's seated next to the king, up through "We'd jump the life to come." He continues it later, away from the table, but still most of it as voice voer. Lady Macbeth's lines about dashing the brains out of the infant are surprisingly cut. Macbeth's "Bring forth men-children only" is oddly done as voice over, while Lady Macbeth dances with the king.
Fleance is quite young in this production. After Macbeth asks, "Is this a dagger which I see before me," we see the dagger. Its point is embedded in a physical object, not in the air. But then it vanishes, and reappears in the air, and leads Macbeth a few steps. In this production, we see the murder of Duncan, something performed off stage in the play. Macbeth hesitates, and Duncan wakes. And that's when he does the deed. We see the grooms wake, and find themselves covered in blood, confused.
In Act III Scene i, Banquo's speech is done as voice over while Macbeth is being made king. After Banquo's death, there is a shot of bear-baiting (presumably so we'll understand the reference later). The first and second murderers are dispatched after the first gives Macbeth the news of Banquo's death and Fleance's escape. The Ghost of Banquo is pretty cool, especially the momet he's first revealed. Act III Scene v is cut. Act III Scene vi is cut.
Act IV Scene i begins with "By the pricking of my thumbs/Something wicked this way comes." There are many witches this time, all naked. After Macbeth's entrance they all chant the famous lines that should have started the scene ("Double, double, toil and trouble"). It is seriously creepy. The death of Lady Macduff's son is done fairly well. And we see others slain, as Lady Macduff sees them.
It goes right from that to Act V Scene i. Lady Macbeth is naked during her sleepwalking scene. The film then goes back to Act IV Scene iii, beginning with "our country sinks beneath the yoke." This scene then leads to Act V Scene ii. Then back again to Act V Scene iii, beginning with the entrance of the servant. Macbeth's "I have liv'd long enough" speech is done as voice over. Lady Macbeth takes out the letter and reads it again. That leads to Act V Scene v ("Hang out our banners"). The beginning and end of Macbeth's famous speech is spoken alound, but from "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow" through "the way to dusty death" is done as voice over. Macbeth's line "But get thee back, my soul is too much charg'd/With blood of thine already" is moved a bit later - he is about to kill Macduff, but says that line and stops. There is a short scene at the witches' lair tacked onto the end for some reason. (time: 140 minutes)
In Act II Scene i, Macbeth puts his hand on Fleance's shoulder in a seemingly friendly gesture. Macbeth closes his eyes during the "dagger" speech just before "I see thee still." An interesting choice. Then he opens them againbefore "There's no such thing." The Porter (Ian McDiarmid) does his routine directly to us.
Act III Scene i begins with Macbeth being crowned. After Macbeth dismisses everyone, Lady Macbeth approaches him lovingly, and he directs his line, "While then, God be with you" to her, effectively dismissing her too. We don't see Banquo's Ghost; rather, the camera is between two guests, where Banquo would be, and Macbeth looks toward the camera. Act III Scene v is cut.
In Act IV the "double, double" bit is sung almost like a holy song in a church - interesting. The apparitions don't appear. Instead, the witches themselves say the lines of the apparitions, which removes a great deal of the supernatural element. Macbeth is blindfolded, and so we don't see the lines of kings. They're simply in his imagination. Lady Macduff's son says, "As birds do, mother," and then goes right to "My father is not dead, for all your saying." Thus, several lines are cut - all the lines about birds. So it's odd that the first line, "As birds do," is left in. Lady Macduff's lines, "But I remember now..." are delivered directly to the camera. The Doctor is cut from Scene iii.
In Act V, Lady Macbeth is heartbreaking during the sleepwalking scene. Oddly, the bit with Macbeth and Young Siward is cut. So we don't see Macbeth acting fearlessly. It's the only really bad cut in this production. Macduff enters with a bloody dagger, but not with Macbeth's head, as indicated in the text. (time: 146 minutes)
- Macbeth (2010) with Patrick Stewart, Kate Fleetwood, Michael Feast, Martin Turner, Polly Frame; driected by Rupert Goold. This is a truly interesting production with some excellent performance, especially by Patrick Stewart as Macbeth. It is a more modern setting. It opens with old war footage mixed in with shots of a hospital, and it's at the hospital that we get the first line: "What bloody man is that?" (which is from Scene ii). It's an underground hospital, and the sounds of war are audible. There is some deliberately shaky camera work. The Captain speaks while nurses work on him. The Captain then flatlines, and the nurses are revealed to be the three witches, and they then do the first scene. It's pretty awesome. Then back to Scene ii, with the entrance of Ross and Angus. It's an underground bunker, and is wonderfully creepy. Macbeth and Banquo go down in an elevator, where they discover the witches, still dressed as nurses. Macbeth's lines "Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor/The greatest is behind" are spoken to Banquo, not as an aside. We see Cawdor executed. He is seated on a chair with a bag over his head, and his execution is quick - a bullet to the head. So the next lines about "nothing in his life became him/Like the leaving of it" ring as lies, which is an interesting choice. Lady Macbeth, in Scene v, is in an elevator. Her reading of the letter is done as voice over. When she begins to speak aloud, she seems very much the villain. Macbeth's lair is introduced as another bunker, not a castle (though later it is shown to be a castle) Scene vi takes place in the kitchen. Duncan enters while food is being prepared and still says, "This castle hath a pleasant seat." Banquo's lines, however, are cut. Three of the kitchen workers are revealed to be the witches, so they are much more of a presence in this production.
An exterior night shot begins Act II - a surprise, but merely an establishing shot. The first scene is in the kitchen. Macbeth holds the diamond out in front of him, which then gives way to the "dagger" speech. He faces the camera during the sppech. There is another exterior shot when the Porter is speaking - the same shot, but with a car driving away. And then an interior of the car, with Macduff and his family (which is odd, because isn't he outside knocking?). It's a strange choice to include his family. Lennox is not there, so Lady Macduff has his lines. It works. Actually, her son has one of the lines Lennox should speak. But then Lennox enters, in time to look in on Duncan. In this production, Lady Macbeth's faint is clearly a tactic, not a true faint. Scene iv is actually outside.
At the beginning of Act III, Banquo's speech is done in a room with a large banner depicting Macbeth. Then we have an exterior shot for the next part of the scene. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are on horseback. Macbeth delivers his line "While then, God be with you" directly to Lady Macbeth, dismissing her. He says "are called all by the name of dogs" rather than "are clipt all." In Scene ii, Lady Macbeth now seems frightened of Macbeth. The murder of Banquo is done on a train, which doesn't really make any sense, as Banquo said he was going riding. The Third Murderer shoots the Second. Banquo then gets up, now a Ghost. The three witches serve at the banquet. When Lennox indicates the empty chair, Macbeth actually sits on it. And then Banquo's Ghost enters from behind Lady Macbeth and steps up onto the table. There is an odd dance in this scene. Act III Scene v is cut. Scene vi is weird. The Lord is instead Ross, and he is seated on a chair in a hallway (as Cawdor was), as if about to be interrogated. Lennox punches him in the face, then aims a gun at him when asking "Sir, can you tell/Where he bestows himself?" A strange interpretation of this speech, which seems to me full of sarcasm and odd humor. This production ends the scene with Ross saying, "Lives in the English court." Lennox then rushes off, leaving Ross alone.
In Act IV, the witches do their scene almost like a rap song. They're once again in nurse's outfits and are sort of dancing around three bodies. But, oddly, there is no cauldron bubbling. As for the apparitions, they are the bodies on the tables, but it is the witches who speak for them. But the second isn't a child. And the first and third never are properly shown, so we don't get the hint of the child carrying a tree. But we do get the line of eight kings, the children. And the eighth does hold the mirror, and the Ghost of Banquo follows. All of Lady Macduff's children are present, so the girl is given the line, "Nay, what will you do for a husband?" (the actual line is "Nay, how will you do for a husband?"). Macbeth is there along with the murderers, but once they enter, the rest of the dialogue is cut, and we don't see the son killed. Oddly, we do get a shot of Ross discovering the bodies (this gives his line "They were well at peace when I did leave 'em" a different connotation). The Doctor is cut from Scene iii.
In Act V, the sleepwalking scene is really good. The role of Seyton is one of the weaker performances; his reading of "The queen, my lord, is dead" is awful. The Messenger starts his line "The wood began to move," but Macbeth actually says it in this production. Young Siward has a knife with which he threatens Macbeth, but Macbeth simply shoots him rather than fight him. Macbeth shoots Macduff, but doesn't kill him. He goes to shoot him again on "Yet I will try the last," but his gun is empty.. So they fight with daggers. Macbeth gets the best of Macduff, and is about to kill him, when the three witches enter. Macbeth sees them and says "Enough." And we hear Macduff kill Macbeth as the witches exit. Macduff does carry Macbeth's head, which is odd considering they didn't fight with swords but with small blades - it must have taken him a while to cut it off. (time: 159 minutes)
- Shakespeare The Animated Tales: Macbeth (1992) with Brian Cox, Zoe Wanamaker, Patrick Brennan, Clive Merrison; screenplay by Leon Garfield; directed by Nikolai Serebryakov. Voice over begins this production, giving a bit of brief back story. The witches are great. Act I Scene i is before the the title card. Then we see the battle scene, which goes right into Duncan's speech in which the Thane of Cawdor is sentenced to die. Scene iii begins with Banquo's lines. Macbeth's aside, "Glamis, and Thane of Cawdor/The greatest is behind" is done as voice over, as is "The Prince of Cumberland! that is a step/On which I must fall down, or else o'er-leap..." When Lady Macbeth reads the letter, we actually hear Macbeth's voice in voice over. Her other lines are done as voice over. While Duncan eats, Lady Macbeth does her "unsex me" speech. And Macbeth does his speech, but the beginning is cut. It starts with, "He's here in double trust," and is done as voice over.
Act II begins with Macbeth's line to the servant, thus cutting Banquo and Fleance. We see the dagger during the "dagger" speech. It is like a shaft of light aimed down. The Porter is cut. Cut are the lines in which Macbeth says he killed the two grooms. Scene iv is cut.
Act III begins with Macbeth being crowned. Scene iii is cut, but we see it during Scene iv when the Murderer gives his news. The second time Macbeth sees Banquo's Ghost, it is in his wine glass. Scenes v and vi are cut.
Macbeth's line "I am in blood/Stepp'd in so far..." from Act III Scene iv is given at the beginning of Act IV as he goes to the witches. The apparitions are basically as described in the text, rising from the cauldron. The line of kings, however, is cut. The murders of Lady Macduff and her children are shown briefly while we hear Macbeth give the order. Most of Scene iii is cut, the scene beginning with Macduff's line "My children too?"
Act V begins with Lady Macbeth's line "Out, damned spot!" The Doctor and Gentlewoman are cut, so it's not completely clear that Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking. Scene ii is cut. So is Scene iii. The "tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow" speech is done as voice over, and ends with the line, "Out, out, brief candle" (thus cutting the most famous lines of the play). Scene vi is cut. The fight between Macbeth and Young Siward is cut. Oddly, the line "Out, out, brief candle" is spoken again as Macbeth's head is lifted on the sword. Then, also oddly, the production ends with the Old Man saying, "God's benison go with you, and with those/That would make good of bad, and friends of foes!" (from Act II Scene iv). (time: 26 minutes)
- Throne Of Blood (1957) with Toshiro Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Minoru Chiaki, Akira Kubo; directed by Akira Kurosawa. This adaptation obviously moves the location from Scotland. It begins with messengers giving the king news of the battle, first dire, then good. As Washizu (the Macbeth character in this production) and Miki (Banquo) make their way to the castle, they become lost and find a hovel. Inside is one witch (rather than three), singing. She tells Washizu he's Lord of the North Garrison, and one day will be Sovereign, and that Miki is commander of First Fortress and that one day his son will rule. She then disappears. When they arrives at the castle, Washizu is made Lord of the North Garrison and Miki is made commander of First Fortress. In this version, when Washizu has decided not to pursue his evil dream, Asaji (the Lady Macbeth character) points out that Miki could tell the Lord of the spirit's prophecy. She warns him that the Great Lord will saly him if that happens. Suddenly the Great Lord and his men approach. He will stay there in order to attack Inui, who betrayed him during the battle. Asaji doesn't seem at all loving in this production. She is played bery still, and often looking forward, rather than connecting with Washizu (though she does face him at times). She says she'll get the sake (with sleeping potion) to give the guards, and Washizu is silent - an excellent moment, in which he agrees through his silence. Asaji even hands Washizu the weapon with which to kill the Great Lord. Then the camera remains on her while he is gone (another incredible moment). Suddenly she seems frighted, and Washizu returns with the spear. Without any dialogue, Asaji takes the spear and puts it by the guards. She then returns and washes her hands. It is Asaji who shouts that there are intruders. We then see Washizu stab the guard, while saying "Traitor." The Prince immediately suspects Washizu (which is not in the play) and that is why he decides to flee, along with Noriyasu. They go to the castle where Miki is in charage and announce at the gate that Washizu is responsible for the Great Lord's death. But arrows come at them from within the castle, forcing them to leave. Miki fears Inui will attack the castle. Interestingly, it is Asaji who says the line about having not bloodied her hands for the sake of Miki's son. Another twist is that Asaji announces she is pregnant. Washizu had decided to name Miki's son as heir at the banquet. Then Miki and his son fail to show up. Suddenly Miki's Ghost appears, and Washizu reacts angrily. Asaji has to speak on his behalf to the other guests. Then Miki is gone again. His Ghost returns, scaring Washizu, who says, "I'll slay you yet again." In the play, Lady Macbeth stops him before he can reveal anything so directly damning. Oddly, it is after everyone leaes that the murderer enters with Miki's head and tells them that his son was wounded but escaped. But we don't have the scene where the murderers are assigned the task, nor the scene when they attempt to carry it out. Washizu kills the murderer. Rumors abound in the castle that Miki's son has gone to Inui, and that Noriyasu and the Prince have done likewise. Asaji's child is stillborn. Washizu rides forth to find the spirit again. The spirit tells him, "Until the very trees of Spider's Web Forest rise against Spider's Web Castle, you will not be defeated in battle." But, unlike the play, he does not name the person that he has to fear, and there is nothing about no one born of woman. We don't see Asaji sleepwalking, but we do have a scene in which Asaji scrubs her hands in a basin as if in a trance, and Washizu actually witnesses her do it. And then of course the trees arrive. Washizu's own men shoot arrows at him inside the castle. The shots of the arrows hitting around him is incredible. And finally one goes through his neck. So it's a very different ending from the play (and he doesn't really die in battle). There is no explanation of the trees being used to hide their numbers as there is in the play. And here it seems that they're to be used more as cover from arrows. After Washizu is dead, the men with the trees are still advancing, not knowing of his death. And the film ends there. So Asaji never kills herself. (time: 109 minutes)
- Teenage Gang Debs (1966) with Diane Conti, Joey Naudic, John Batis, Linda Gale, Sandra Kane; screenplay by Hy Cahl; directed by Sande N. Johnsen. This incredibly loose adaptation stars Diane Conti as Terry (the Lady Macbeth character), a teenager who is new to town and wants to join a gang called The Rebels. Nino introduces her to the gang, but when she learns that Johnny (the Duncan character) is the gang's leader, she attaches herself to him, despite the fact that Johnny already has a girl, Angel. So Terry and Angel have a cat fight, and Terry wins, so she becomes Johnny's girl. They go have sex (under a handmade sign, "Rebels Forever") while everyone else dances. Johnny wants to carve his initials on her shoulder, but she's not into it, so she flirts with Nino (the Macbeth character). But he's having none of it. So she calls him a chicken (just as Lady Macbeth accused Macbeth of cowardice). She tells him she wants him instead of Johnny because of the whole cutting thing. To prove he's not a chicken, Nino fucks Terry in Johnny's room, knowing he'll then have to fight Johnny. Nino tells Johnny he's taking over the rebels. Terry hands Nino the knife that he'll use to kill Johnny (in the lamest knife fight ever in a film). Terry also convinces Nino to let the other guys take turns with Annie, Nino's old girl. Terry then urges Nino to attack other gangs so he'll be the leader of the toughest gang in the city. When a guy wants to quit the gang to get married, Terry convinces Nino to kill him before he can go to the cops (she tells Nino that he knows too much). Because of Terry's influence, Nino becomes a tyrant, saying that no one can quit the gang (in the past, quitting was no big deal). Unlike Lady Macbeth, Terry never has trouble sleeping. Finally the other girls turn on Terry and cut her up. (time: 72 minutes)
- Macbeth (2005) with James McAvoy, Keeley Hawes, Joseph Millson, Vincent Regan, Richard Armitage; directed by Mark Brozel. This adaptation of Macbeth, part of the Shakespeare Retold series, sets the play in a modern restaurant. Joe Macbeth (James McAvoy) is the main chef in a restaurant owned and run by Duncan (Vincent Regan). The film begins with the three witches, this time three bin men in a dump truck. Ella Macbeth (Keeley Hawes) is the restaurant's hostess, and when we're introduced to her, she is measuring the space between silverware, making sure everything is precise. In the kitchen, there is a bit of play regarding the title of the play, as those in the kitchen know not to say a certain chef's name, but to refer to him as "the Scottish chef." Joe and Billy (the Banquo character) run into the three bin men in the alley. They tell them that the restaurant will get three stars, and that Joe will get everything, which then Billy's son will get. Immediately, it is revealed that the restaurant did get the rare three-star rating. Duncan owns the restaurant, and his son Malcolm will inherit it someday, but he needs Joe to train Malcolm. Duncan jokes with Joe that if he got run over by a bus tonight, Malcolm wouldn't be ready, and Joe would get the restaurant - a bit contrived, but okay. Ella reminds Joe of how much work he's put into the restaurant, but that Joe will get all the glory. She says, "You're too full of the milk of human kindness, Joe." (This film uses the milk image quite a bit.) As in the play, we don't see Duncan's murder. Joe tells Ella he can't go back in the room, so she takes the knife and does it herself (this is a second knife, one that they intend to be found). We get a shot of the two of them washing their hands, and Ella says, "A little water, and we're clean." Joe doesn't sleep that night. There is no Porter, so it's Joe that goes to see who it is in the morning. Peter Macduff is one of the waiters, and he is there to see Duncan, because Duncan wants to go over the wine list before his press interviews. This film oddly has a reference to The Merchant Of Venice. A health inspector arrives unexpectedly and says he doesn't appreciate it when someone makes him "work for my pound of flesh, if you'll excuse my Shakespeare." It's weird for him to actually say "Shakespeare," because if the people of this film's world are aware of Shakespeare, then wouldn't they be aware of Macbeth? It's a detail that really doesn't work, and takes you out of the film for a bit. There is a scene in which Ella sings Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz" as she applies makeup. An interesting choice, if the story of that song is true - that Janis said she had to record it that night because there was going to be no tomorrow. Joe tells Ella he imagines terrible things. Ella says, "What's done is done." Joe Macbeth waits all night for the three bin men to return. When they do, they tell him to watch out for Macduff. And in their speech they utter phrases from the play such as "the sound and the fury" (actually in the play it's just "sound and fury") and "all our yesterdays." Joe asks about Billy, then about himself. One tells him, "Pigs will fly before anything happens to you." Another says, "Pigs will drop on your head before you're harmed." Billy tells Joe he's expecting another baby, which of course gets Joe to thinking about the bin men's prediction. Billy and his son Freddy go cycling together in the morning. Interestingly, Joe asks Billy, "Do you ever think about those bin men?" And Billy responds, "No. Never." Which is a lie. And it's the reverse of the play. Joe hires a guy to kill Billy and Freddy, but of course the murderer doesn't kill the boy. The banquet scene is done at breakfast. Billy hasn't arrived. At first, instead of his ghost, Joe gets a video message from Billy on his phone, which freaks him out. Ella tells everyone that Joe hasn't been himself. And then Billy's Ghost does appear. Joe begins to lose it, making mistakes in the kitchen, and then attacking a customer who complained. We see Peter Macduff at home briefly, with his wife and two daughters. He then goes to Malcolm with his suspicions about Joe. Joe tells the murderer to kill Peter Macduff. Interestingly, this production mentions the child that Lady Macbeth alludes to in the play. Ella says it was prematurely born and died soon after (she says this to restaurant patrons). The murderer kills Macduff's family, and it's a detective who tells him, not this film's version of Ross. We actually see Ella's suicide (which is sort of combined with the sleepwalking scene). Joe, when he's told, says he feels nothing. Peter comes to kill Joe, and there is the sound of a helicopter landing on the building. "Pigs will fly," Joe realizes, which is a bit lame. Peter then kills him. Malcolm runs the restaurant, and at the end he steps out for a cigarette and sees Freddy on his bicycle, hinting that Freddy will take over, probably violently. (time: 87 minutes)
- Scotland, PA (2002) with James LeGros, Maura Tierney, Christopher Walken, Kevin Corrigan, James Rebhorn, Amy Smart, Andy Dick; written and directed by Billy Morrissette. This dark comedy adaptation of Macbeth sets it in a restaurant in the 1970s. It opens with the three witches; however, in this version they are three hippies seated on a ferris wheel after the carnival has shut down for the night. They're smoking pot and eating. One of them drops the bucket of chicken. One says, "It was foul." Another jokes, "The fowl was foul?" The girl says, "And the fair was fair." This is all play, of course, on the line, "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" from Act I Scene i. Duncan's is a restaurant owned by Norm Duncan (James Rebhorn). He plans to leave it to his son Malcolm, but Malcolm isn't interested - he wants to be in a rock band. And Norm's other son, Donald, is interested in theatre. Joe and Pat McBeth (James LeGros and Maura Tierney) work at Duncan's, and of course are very interested in running it some day. Douglas (the film's Macdonwald character) is the assistant manager, and Joe McBeth learns he's been stealing money, so he and Pat arrange for him to be fired. Duncan makes McBeth the new assistant manager. Joe and Pat kill Duncan in the restaurant, and Pat gets a burn on her hand as a result. Right after it's done, Pat says, "Mac, it's done. It can't be undone" - an interesting combination of her early line "What's done is done" (Act III Scene ii) and one of her last lines, "What's done cannot be undone" (Act V Scene i). Lieutenant McDuff (Christopher Walken) arrives to solve the murder. Because Malcolm and Donald have no interest in the restaurant, they sell it to the McBeths for a low price. The McBeths change the restaurant, add the drive-through, and it becomes a success. Things go well. But then McDuff returns, and McBeth begins to think that his friend Anthony "Banko" Banconi (Kevin Corrigan, in the Banquo role) is a problem. This is because Banko is asking a few questions, not because of a prophecy as in the play - in this version, Banko has no son. Meanwhile Pat keeps putting ointment on the burn on her hand, and running her hand under water, though the burn had healed long before. McBeth kills Banko, and at a press conference for the restaurant, Banko's Ghost shows up. McBeth goes to find the three hippies. When he arrives, he discovers the carnival is gone. But suddenly it reappears. We don't see what they tell McBeth then, but later they call him up and he goes to them again, and they tell him he should kill McDuff's entire family. He doesn't do that, but instead lures McDuff to the restaurant in order to kill him. Meanwhile, Pat cuts off her hand in order to rid herself of the burn once and for all, and bleeds to death. McDuff kills McBeth in the fight. And at the end the restaurant becomes McDuff's. This is a fun film, and Maura Tierney is particularly fantastic in it. (time: 104)
- "The Scottish Play": An Explanation (2004) with Ian McKellen. In this interview, Ian McKellen talks about the Trevor Nunn production, about Judi Dench's performance, and about the rest of the cast. He does discuss the decision to not have Banquo's Ghost be visible in that scene. (time: 33 minutes)
Films With References To Macbeth:
- Below (2002) with Matt Davis, Bruce Greenwood, Olivia Williams and Zach Galifianakis; directed by David Twohy. This ghost story on a submarine during World War II has a Shakespeare reference. Olivia Williams finds a book on the walkway of the boat. It's a copy of The Tragedies Of Shakespeare, opened to "Macbeth." On the first page is the inscription, "Property of Lt. Brice," which leads Olivia to discover a few things.
- The Exorcist III (1990) with George C.Scott, Ed Flanders, Brad Dourif; directed by William Peter Blatty. In an early scene in the police station, Lt. Kinderman (George C. Scott) says, "Do you know what Macbeth is about? I'll tell you. It's a play about the numbing of the moral sense." Then a little later he says, "And the autopsy? When, please?" The response is, "Tomorrow." George C. Scott says, "And tomorrow and tomorrow," finishing the line from Act V Scene v. In a much later scene, Brad Dourif says to George C. Scott, "I like plays. The good ones. Shakespeare. I like Titus Andronicus the best. It's sweet." Like in Titus Andronicus, there are decapitations in The Exorcist III.
- Gnomio & Juliet (2011) with James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Matt Lucas, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Ashley Jensen; directed by Kelly Asbury. This animated film features the tale of Romeo And Juliet as portrayed by garden gnomes and other lawn ornaments. So while obviously this film is mostly Romeo And Juliet, it does contain references to other Shakespeare plays, including Macbeth. When Juliet opens the gate, a dog is on the other side. So she slams it shut, shouting, "Out, out." A man in the distance finished the line for her: "Damn Spot, over here, boy." Get it? (Macbeth, Act V, Scene 1.) (time 84 minutes)
- L.A. Story (1991) with Steve Martin, Victoria Tennant, Richard E. Grant, Marilu Henner, Sarah Jessica Parker; directed by Mick Jackson. This beautiful and magical and hilarious comedy has several references to Shakespeare. The first is a reference to Richard The Second. The second is a reference to Macbeth. While Harris (Steve Martin) waits for his girlfriend in his car, he tells us this, in voice over: "Sitting there at that moment, I thought of something else Shakespeare said. He said, Hey, life is pretty stupid, with lots of hubbub to keep you busy, but really not amounting to much. Of course, I'm paraphrasing. 'Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.'" That line, of course, is from Act V Scene v, and is spoken by Macbeth.
- Something For Everyone (1970) with Michael York, Angela Lansbury, Jane Carr; directed by Harold Prince. This wonderful dark comedy has a reference to Macbeth. Near the end of the film Conrad (Michael York) tells Lotte (Jane Carr) not to forget to turn out the lights. Lotte responds, "Of course not, dear Conrad. Farewell. Farewell until we meet again. In thunder, lightning, or in rain." The opening lines of Macbeth are, "When shall we three meet again?/In thunder, lightning, or in rain?" Those lines are, of course, spoken by the first witch. And in Something For Everyone, Lotte is about to work her own sort of witchcraft on Conrad.
Television Programs With References To Macbeth:
- The Black Adder (1982) with Rowan Atkinson, Tim McInnerny, Brian Blessed. This series has many Shakespeare references. The first episode of the first season is full of references to Shakespeare, including one to Macbeth. While searching for Henry Tudor (who by the way is played by Peter Benson, who played Henry The Sixth in the BBC productions), Edmund (Rowan Atkinson) comes across the three witches. They tell him, "Today has brought misfortune, but one day - oh, glorious day - one day - oh happy day - you shall be king." Oddly, in the closing credits the three are named Goneril, Regan and Cordelia (from King Lear).
- Blackadder The Third (1987) with Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Hugh Laurie. The episode titled "Sense And Senility" has quite a few Shakespeare references, including a few to Macbeth. The Prince (Hugh Laurie) is going to take elocution lessons from two actors. Baldrick tells Blackadder that his uncle was in a play called Macbeth. His uncle played the second codpiece. "Macbeth wore him in the fight scenes." Blackadder asks, "Did he have a large part?" Baldrick answers, "Depends who's playing Macbeth." Blackadder then says, "Incidentally, Baldrick, actors are very superstitious. On no account mention the word 'Macbeth' this evening, all right?" Baldrick asks, "Why not?" Blackadder answers, "It brings them bad luck and it makes them very unhappy." The actors, soon after arriving, mention "the Scottish play." Blackadder says, "By 'the Scottish play,' I assume you mean Macbeth." The two actors freak out, and perform a little routine to exorcise the evil spirits. Realizing they'll do that each time he says the name of the play, Blackadder makes the most of it. Later, the actors are instructing the Prince to roar at the start of the speech, one of them giving examples from Hamlet and Julius Caesar. Then the other says, "And from your leading character in a play connected with Scotland." Before the first actor can give his performance, Blackadder enters saying, "That's Macbeth, isn't it," which leads to their ridiculous ritual.
In the final episode of the series, titled "Duel And Duality," there is a reference to Macbeth. Blackadder agrees to take the place of the Prince in a duel with the Duke of Wellington (Stephen Fry), planning to have his cousin Mad McAdder, a homicidal Scotsman, fight the duel in turn for him. McAdder, however, is not interested. Blackadder returns home to tell the Prince the plan is off. But before he can, the Prince tells him: "It has been a wild afternoon full of strange omens. I dreamt that a large eagle circled the room three times, and then got into bed with me and took all the blankets. And then I saw that it wasn't an eagle at all, but a large black snake. Also, Duncan's horses did turn and eat each other, as usual." A reference to Act II Scene iv.
- Slings & Arrows (2003-2006) with Paul Gross, Stephen Ouimette, Martha Burns, Mark McKinney, Susan Coyne. The second season is all about Macbeth. In the first episode, titled "Season's End," a woman tells Geoffrey that she liked Hamlet "well enough," but says she's curious what he'll do with Macbeth. Geoffrey tells her they're not doing Macbeth. Richard, drunk, apologizes to Geoffrey about that horrid woman (from the first season). Geoffrey replies, "Richard, what's done is done," which of course is Lady Macbeth's line from Act III Scene ii. Richard wants to do Macbeth because a certain actor is available, and Geoffrey ultimately accepts the challenge of directing Macbeth.
In the second episode, titled "Fallow Time," Anna gives Geoffrey Oliver's boxes of notes for staging Macbeth. Ellen asks Geoffrey about the character of Lady Macbeth, wondering how exactly she is weak. "When does she crack, and why?" Geoffrey finally opens the boxes of notes. The elementary school puts on Macbeth. Geoffrey and Ellen go to see it to show their support. We see the scene when Macbeth and Banquo meet the witches, and then quickly several other scenes. The bloody dagger is on a wire, so the audience actually sees it. We see Duncan's murder and Banquo's murder. And of course Oliver shows up in the elementary school production. During the first table read, they discuss the curse. The actor playing Macbeth does the "dagger" speech before the table read.
In the third episode, titled "Rarer Monster," Geoffrey and Oliver discuss the element of evil in the play. The Romeo And Juliet director, after mentioning the name of the Scottish play, falls off the thrust and breaks her neck.
In the fourth episode, titled "Fair Is Foul And Foul Is Fair" (which is a line from the first scene of the play), Geoffrey tells Oliver that he doesn't like his Macbeth. They rehearse the Ghost of Banquo scene. And of course Geoffrey is talking to Oliver - an empty chair to everyone else in the theatre. At the night of the first preview, Geoffrey fires Henry, the actor playing Macbeth.
In the fifth episode, titled "Steeped In Blood," Richard, upon learning that Henry was fired, goes to see Geoffrey. Geoffrey immediately says, "If this is about Henry, what's done is done," once again quoting Lady Macbeth from Act III Scene ii. Jerry, the understudy, goes on for the second preview.
In the sixth and final episode of the second season - titled "Birnam Wood" - Macbeth opens, with Henry back in the lead role. Oliver decides to go out as the Ghost of Banquo.
- Star Trek (1966-1969) with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley. The episode "All Our Yesterdays" (written by Jean Lisette Aroeste; directed by Marvin Chomsky) has a reference to Macbeth in its title. The title is taken from Macbeth's famous speech from Act V: "All all our yesterdays have lighted fools/The way to dusty death." The episode is about a planet's inhabitants having escaped the impending destruction of their world by traveling into the past. There are no other direct references to Macbeth in the episode. However, Kirk is accused of witchcraft and says, "There are no witches." And as we know, there are three witches in Macbeth.