[Last Time I Saw] Macbeth (1948)

Macbeth poster
Title: Macbeth
Year: 1948
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Drama
Director: Orson Welles
Writer: William Shakespeare
Music: Jacques Ibert
Cinematography: John L. Russell
Cast:
Orson Welles
Jeanette Nolan
Dan O’Herlihy
Roddy McDowall
Edgar Barrier
Peggy Webber
Lionel Braham
Rating: 5.3/10

Macbeth 1954

Very frankly speaking, it’s a horrible adaption of Macbeth, which might not be Shakespeare’s best masterpiece, but still, holds his gold-lettered signboard, I constantly keep myself from any possible idolization even if this time the object is Orson Welles. I am disqualified to evaluate Orson’s works as I have not watched enough amount of them, I just articulate my feelings as far as this film is concerned. I guess the only person whom the film satisfies is Orson himself, as he seems to be quite intoxicated with his over-the-top performance while Shakespeare’s brilliant lines could intermittently jump out of his mouth.

For me, it looks like even his co-star Jeanette Nolan (Ms. Macbeth) would like to finish her role (by jumping from the cliff) earlier. The film is merely a second-class Shakespeare’s play with a bigger but undeservedly shabby set, actually, a burlesque may be more accurate. Of course, no matter what it is still the original Macbeth, so it does have its own charm in spite of its potboiler quality, which could not be attributed to Orson himself (maybe the horror surrealistic background he creates is an exception).

So clearly I’m not a B-movie fan, in my opinion, the controversy of the film is largely due to the fact that it is made by Orson Welles, a prematurely senile genius, other than the film itself.The performance is uneven​, Orson is not Laurence Olivier (in 1948 Laurence’s Hamlet was a huge success), on the contrary, Jeanette Nolan became my sole guilty pleasure in this film (the truth is that there is sheerly no other choice for me, perhaps the three witches also stand a chance), I am not familiar with theatrical work, so if someone tells me Orson actually has done a great job in the film, I will be very disappointed by the intrinsic characteristic of an actor.

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One thought on “[Last Time I Saw] Macbeth (1948)

  1. dearest Isaac,I understand your point. I think you might have a look on the famous Opera made by Verdi in the majestic and unsurpassed interpretation by Maria Callas.Macbeth is the tragedy of remorse and a well-designed example of compulsive mania. The greatness of Callas is to suggest all those nuances without loosing the grandeur of Lady macbeth being the Queen. The passage of her trying to wash out the imaginary blood stain from her hand is a masterpiece.I thought from my childhood that Macbeth is one of the most universal and thouching example of fragility of human feelings; should be great in sins and in folly.Perhaps we may watch it together.bravo!

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