Macbeth [DVD] [1971]

Roman Polanski's dark and gritty interpretation of the Bard's play, is equally masterful and unforgettable. Filmed on location in North Wales, Polanski's nightmarish film weaves a cinematic spell upon the viewer with its startling moments of violence and exceptional performances from stars Jon Finch as Macbeth and Francesca Annis as his foul Lady. When originally released in 1971, Macbeth was not a success and many critics felt that -- despite the obvious talent involved -- it was virtually impossible to separate the film from the murder of Polanski's pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, as well as the other victims of the so-called Manson murders in 1969. Thankfully, time has been a blessing to Macbeth and the film has long been championed by its admirers as one of the greatest Shakespeare adaptations put to celluloid. Columbia TriStar's DVD is fabulous, finally presenting the film in its proper widescreen (2.35:1) aspect ratio, and with fully remastered picture and sound. Taking into account that the film has a distinctive and purposefully grainy look to it, the transfer is excellent. The disc also comes with theatrical trailers for other Columbia TriStar releases. It's unfortunate that Polanski was not involved with making this disc a truly special event, but the film alone makes this DVD required viewing.
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Special Features

  • Remastered in high definition
  • Theatrical trailers


Perhaps William Shakespeare meant to have Lady Macbeth perform her sleepwalking scene in the nude -- it was this X-rated scene and the film's much-publicized spurts of violence, rather than the brilliant performances of Jon Finch as Macbeth and Francesca Annis as his Lady, that lured crowds to Roman Polanski's 1972 adaptation of Macbeth. Only a few critics glommed onto the most impressive aspect of Polanski's version: as Macbeth and his wife sink deeper and deeper into the morass of their murderous ambitions, they age and wither before our eyes (Shakespeare's play does cover several years, but this is usually forgotten or ignored by many actors and directors). Macbeth was financed and released by Playboy, which naturally necessitated a fold-out spread on "the witches of Cawdor." The original Shakespearean text was adapted for the screen by Polanski and Kenneth Tynan. Despite an excellent first week, Macbeth ended up in the red, compelling Hugh Hefner to think twice about future motion-picture projects. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Jon Finch
    Jon Finch - Macbeth
  • Francesca Annis
    Francesca Annis - Lady Macbeth
  • Martin Shaw
    Martin Shaw - Banquo
  • Image coming soon
    Nicholas Selby - Duncan
  • Image coming soon
    John Stride - Ross

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