Wednesday, May 23, 2012
In my ocd stupor over the play "Macbeth", I decided to check out some of the film adapatations including this one and the Ian McKellan/Judi Dench version. I expect both to be extremely different.
In this adaptation, Welles has a stipped down set, with aspects of expressionist architecture. The costumes and props indicate a more primitive culture than one would expect to find in Scotland in 1040. Also, Welles provides a powerful performance with a modified script that was not well accepted at the time.
Made for $700 000 and shot in 23 days, the fact that Welles managed to pull this together at all, is amazing. The sets are a little strange and look like a combination between paper mache and the Batcave. As well, Welles cut and pasted the dialogue, giving lines to different people, introducing new characters and aspects not in the play. When it debuted, the public did not take well to the changes, resulting in a box office disaster. Today, there are a variety of adaptations of Macbeth, not all strictly following stage directions and settings put out by Shakespeare and I think they're the better for it. I love the fact that Welles was willing to experiment with the source material and make it his own.
I enjoyed the film, despite some of its deterrants and thought that Welles did an amazing job with the limited time and budget he had access to. If you're looking for a slightly different interpretation of the play than please check out this film.