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Roman Polanski presents his gritty vision of Shakespeare's classic tragedy about the lust for power-and its bloody consequences. Macbeth (Jon Finch), the Scottish war hero whose insane ambitionunleashes a cycle of violence. Prompted by the supernatural prophecy of three witches, Macbeth is goaded by his Lady (Francesca Annis) into slaying King Duncan (Nicholas Selby) and assuming his throne. Y'know, Macbeth.

Video


The Tragedy of Macbeth is not a film dripping in colour and light, it is a cold, drab styled film, going for real world rather than fantasy stylings. Because of this the presentation doesn't exactly leap off of the screen, in fact the wide open spaces on the film can look extremly grainy and at first glance a little underwhelming.

Of course, that is not the case, well not entirely. Detail here is extremly good. Chained armour, draped fabrics over horses and decorated sets come with some fanatisically well defined edges when the lighting is right but that's where the limits of the film cone in. The film is largely covered in rain, storms, abd overcast skies. When the sun comes out farmland can glow a bit more the detail really manages to thrive.

Controlled interior sets look infinitly better than the exterior scenes. Skintones look natural, colours a lot more striking and the image is much cleaner, really showing off the sharpness of the image. In fact the two areas of the film almost look like films from different eras. The exteriors modern and raw, interiors more akin to technicolour musicals or swashbuckling adventures of the the past.

Audio


The audio track is strong but due to the amount going on at times sounds a bit harsh in the upper levels. Generally though this is of course Shakespeareion dialogue heavy and all of these element are clear and strong and without issue.

Sound effects sound dated but crisp enough but the track sounds very small in terms of range and always feels confined to the centre with no real dynamic moments taking place.

Extras


'Toil and Trouble: Making Macbeth' (60:00 HD) is a Criterion making of from 2014 and sits as a classic style making of, telling us the tale of the production from its Playboy production to its mixed reviews globally.

'Polanski Meets Macbeth' (47:31 HD) is an original 1971 documentary featuring plenty of on set footage and interviews, oh and cigarettes.

'Dick Cavett and Kenneth Tynan' (13:33 HD) features a segment from the 1971 talkshow and the film is discussed.

'Aquarius "Two Macbeths' (30:03 HD) features a 1972 TV British show that interviews Polanski and last up is the film's trailes.

Overall


Polanski's Macbeth is intense and dark and grittier than what you'd expect from an Shakspeare adapation in the 70s, of course we much more accustomed to this apprach now, so the results are maybe not as unique and striking as they once were. The film is restored well but it's 50/50 in terms of pleasing results due to the films rather gritty look in its exterior scenes but accepting that as an inherant part of the film's history enables you too reach beyond the surface and see a pretty wonderful clean up beneath it, not forgtting how good those exterior scenes look throughout as well. Criterion have of course put together a nice batch of extras and fans are in for a treat with this one.
 The Tragedy of Macbeth
 The Tragedy of Macbeth
 The Tragedy of Macbeth
 The Tragedy of Macbeth
 The Tragedy of Macbeth
 The Tragedy of Macbeth


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