The Thames Shakespeare Collection: Macbeth/King Lear [2 Discs] [DVD]

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Special Features

  • Macbeth Bonus Features:
  • Introductions To Macbeth With Ian McKellen
  • The Scottish Play: An Explanation With Ian McKellen
  • Timeline Of William Shakespeare's Life And Plays
  • Biography And Filmography Of Ian McKellen
  • Biography And Filmography Of Dame Judi Dench
  • King Lear Bonus Features:
  • "Edmund... A Pivotal Role" An Interview With Actor Patrick Mower
  • Notes With Producer And Director Tony Davenall


This 1976 Royal Shakespeare Company production of Macbeth was originally broadcast on Thames Television in 1978. The company's artistic director Trevor Dunn directs the cast on a small bare stage with mostly black costumes and minimal props. After the witches (Susan Dury, Judith Harte, Marie Kean) announce the prophecy that Macbeth (Ian McKellen) will be the next king, the elderly King Duncan (Griffith Jones) proclaims that his son, Malcolm (Roger Rees), will be heir to the throne. Lady Macbeth (Judi Dench) learns about the witches' prophecy in a letter, prompting he to ask the gods to remove her femininity so she can make her weak husband kill the king. When Duncan comes to visit Macbeth's castle, he is murdered in his sleep. Macbeth kills the guards, claiming they were the murderers. In fear of their own lives, Duncan's sons flee the country and Macbeth is crowned King of Scotland. Riddled with guilt, Macbeth goes mad and sees horrible visions while the witches announce the prophecy of his downfall. Also starring John Woodvine as Banquo, Ian McDiarmid as the porter, and Bob Peck as Macduff. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi

King Lear
Patrick Magee plays the aging and confused monarch in this made-for-television adaptation of one of Shakespeare's most resonant tragedies. When aging King Lear (Patrick Magee) asks his children to profess their love for him so he may divide his estate accordingly, his youngest daughter, Cordelia (Wendy Allnutt), gives an answer that speaks of modesty and practicality, while Regan (Ann Lynn) and Goneril (Beth Harris) offer more flowery tributes. Lear mistakes Cordelia's good sense for contempt and forces her to leave his land, while Regan and Goneril are allowed to divide his holdings; however, it isn't until much later than Lear sees the error of his ways, and comes to understand his older daughters are using his growing senility for their own purposes. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Ian McKellen
    Ian McKellen - Macbeth
  • Judi Dench
    Judi Dench - Lady Macbeth
  • Griffith Jones
    Griffith Jones - Duncan
  • Bob Peck
    Bob Peck - Macduff
  • Roger Rees
    Roger Rees - Malcolm
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