[Some borderline incoherent notes on Orson Welles' Macbeth (1948)]
So this was made on the cheap? Well, sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit—it looks AWESOME: I love Welles’ Macbeth’sB-movie “Frankenstein Castle” look and the mish-mosh of costumes.
Incredible B&W cinematography, and LOTS of optical printer work, bolted onto Great God Orson’s super-theatrical ANTI-REALISM—
And we do have to say that The Scottish Play is my fave of The Bard’s works (followed by King Lear, brought to screen in Japanese and then in Russian, and both those versions superb) and Troilus & Cressida, which has yet to be made into a film (I think).
[I’m also a big fan of Olivier’s Richard III, but I need to see Gandalf’s versionagain to have a genuine opinion, though. Meanwhile, I really dig All Night Long, Basil Dearden’s “Jazz Othello” starring Patrick McGoohan as the Iago character, with guest appearances/performances by Charles Mingus and Dave Brubeck, among others.]
[Getting back to Mack the B, I have yet to see Roman Polanski’s version, but don’t feel in a rush to do so. I’d rather watch Throne of Blood instead first.] Getting back to Mr. Welles’ 1948 version—you enjoyment depends on your tolerance of Willie The Shakes oeuvre. If you’ve zero tolerance for genuine classics of human civilization, well, sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeit. What would you care about Orson Welles anyway, let alone visit Ivanlandia?
With his square and pointy crown, and the cat-like makeup, Welles looks like a grown-up Max (from Where the Wild Things Are), but gone very, very bad.
Being a special effects geek, the flick is a joyful cornucopia of optical effects, especially when The Weird Sisters are about.
According to Wikipoopia, “Of all Welles's post-Kane Hollywood productions, Macbeth is closest to Citizen Kane in its use of long takes and deep focus photography. Shots of the increasingly isolated Scottish king looming in the foreground while other characters address him from deep in the background overtly reference Kane.”
And honestly, I dug how Welles has everyone speaking in thick Scotch burrs…
This flick is shamefully not available on DVD, but if you’ve the ability—or friends with the ability—it can be found by snooping about the Intertubes for a bootleg.
That was my original idea for the title of this blog, a sort of summation of nearly everything I'd ever wanted cinematically: regularly playing on the ABC Channel 7 4:30 movie--or on WOR-TV Channel 9's 4 O'Clock Movie--the greatest monster movie in the universe, and incredible combo of miniatures, men in suits and stop motion, with entire continents destroyed!
But then there was a coup d'etat, and Tzar Ivan I of Ivanlandia took charge.