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Story

Roman Polanski's adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy remains one of the most infamous for a number of reasons: the copious amounts of bloody gore, its expert use of location settings (filmed in North Wales), and Lady Macbeth's nude sleepwalking scene. Despite its notoriety, though, this does remain one of the more compelling film adaptations of the Scottish tragedy, if one of the more pessimistic takes on the story of Macbeth and his overreaching ambition. If you think the play is normally a bit of a downer, you haven't seen Polanski's bleak version of it, made in reaction to the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate, by the Manson "family." Jon Finch (Hitchcock's Frenzy) is an forceful Macbeth, bringing out the Scot's warrior instincts, and Francesca Annis is a memorable Lady Macbeth, but the main thrust of the film belongs to Polanski's and noted British playwright and critic Kenneth Tynan's take on the play: extremely violent, nihilistic, and visceral; this is down-in-the-dirt, no-holds-barred Shakespeare, not fussy costume drama. Pay close attention to the end, a silent coda that puts a chilling twist on all the action that has come beforehand and foreshadows more tragedy to come. --Mark Englehart

DVD Features

  • Color
  • Closed-captioned
  • Widescreen

Cast

Jon FinchMacbeth
Francesca AnnisLady Macbeth
Martin ShawBanquo
Terence BaylerMacduff
John StrideRoss
Nicholas SelbyDuncan
Stephan ChaseMalcolm
Paul ShelleyDonalbain
Keith ChegwinFleance

  • Genre: Drama Movies
  • Director: Roman Polanski
  • Producer: Columbia/Tri-Star
  • Length: 140 min
  • Aspect ratio: 2.35 : 1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaOct 13, 1971
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe15
    AustraliaM
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaMay 7, 2002
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