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Film Studies 101
Feature
The Best Of Macbeth On Screen
As Fassbender and Portman gear up for the Scottish Film, we look at Macbeths gone by…

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This week news emerged that Michael Fassbender is attached to a new production of Macbeth, to be directed by Snowtown’s Justin Kurzel and with Natalie Portman set to be his Lady Macbeth. It seems like a good move for Fassbender who is, after all, So Hot Right Now and Portman’s reportedly been hoping to play Shakespeare’s ambitious Lady for ages. What’s more, while they’re following in the footsteps of some of the greatest actors of the last century – including several of Fassbender’s fellow mutants – there have been relatively few versions of The Scottish Play onscreen. Here we profile a few of the best…

WORDS HELEN O'HARA
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The Best Of Macbeth On Screen | Macbeth (1948)
Macbeth (1948)

Director: Orson Welles
Macbeth:
Orson Welles
Lady Macbeth: Jeanette Nolan

Funnily enough, this isn’t even Welles’ most famous Macbeth. He directed a stage version in Harlem in 1936, setting the action in Haiti and turning the three witches into voo doo practitioners. Perhaps still stinging from accusations of inflaming racist tensions, his film version twelve years later was a slightly more traditional take, setting the action in 11th century Scotland and maintaining the Scottish accents among the cast. At the time, it was compared unfavourably to Olivier’s Hamlet, which was released around the same time, but it’s aged well and is now considered one of Welles’ better efforts.
 

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Your Comments

1 Polanski's Macbeth
Re: Polanski's Macbeth A nekkid sleepwalking scene by Amis? Do we really want to see Martin Amis doing the Full Monty? Or perhaps you meant Francesa Annis, who is a terrific actress (A Pin to See the Peepshow, Dune, Revolver etc) and deserves to have her name spelt correctly. More

Posted by doravale on Sunday May 5, 2013, 14:57

2
Quite glad the 2006 Aussie version showed up here. That one was my favorite. More

Posted by NeoBrowser on Saturday May 4, 2013, 10:42

3 Polanksi's Macbeth works!
We use it at school when we teach the play (to older kids). Best line from a kid in response to the movie - on seeing Macbeth's castle atop an enormous hill in the middle of a completely flat countryside this little gem was overhead from the back of the class, "Wouldn't want that f**ker on my paper round." More

Posted by AndyKirk on Friday May 3, 2013, 19:55


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