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Discuss the openings scenes of the Polanski and Welles' film versions of "Macbeth", considering their use of audio and visual techniques and their presentation of the witches. How do you personally respond to them?

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Discuss the openings scenes of the Polanski and Welles' film versions of "Macbeth", considering their use of audio and visual techniques and their presentation of the witches. How do you personally respond to them? On first viewing both Polanski's and Welles' opening sequence of Macbeth you will immediately think them to be very different. However as we analyse them you will notice the similarities. Both openings occur before the credits and even though they are from different times they both include Shakespearean text. Both films reflect on their era accordingly: Welles' version, which was made in 1948, is in black and white and relies heavily on music. This is needed to liven the atmosphere when the film got more exciting or to give out eerie, sombre music when the film makers wanted the audience to be anxious or scared. Welles' dramatic crescendo at the end is typical of its time. Polanski's version has hardly any music at all and because it has colour technology it can rely on the warm, glowing orange of the sunset or the gloomy grey, blue of an isolated beach to set its atmosphere. Consequently the opening lacks the intensity of Welles' version. In Orson Welles' adaptation of Macbeth the atmosphere is set straight away by a menacing looking cloudscape. The cloudscape then changes to a landscape view. It illustrates a dead tree (which carries on from the dead/hell theme) ...read more.


It had a disconcerting effect on me. In these two adaptations of Macbeth the representations of the witches are very different. In Orson Welles' film the witches are traditional: with black capes and ugly faces. They are also grouped round a bubbling cauldron, whereas Polanski's are depicted as individuals and outcasts. All of Welles' witches appear old whilst Polanski's has an old one, middle aged one and a young one as if to represent three different generations and helping us believe that these women were real people instead of stereotypical witches. They seem to me as if they are outcasts from their society as they are dressed in dirty and ragged clothes and the youngest one appears to be dumb. It seems as if they are diseased or suffering and we can sympathise for them. Welles' witches appear like they want to be on their own and they seem proud of their witchery. Unlike Polanski's they are not individual and except from their voices you can not tell the witches apart. Polanski's, each have their own personage. His oldest witch seems to be the head of the group, for when they are digging she uses a stick whilst the other two claw at the sand with their nails and the camera angle makes her look taller than the other two. She also seems to have a close relationship with the youngest witch, because when they are walking off, the youngest one appears to be helping her whilst the middle aged witch is separate. ...read more.


"Fair is foul, and foul is fair, Hover through the fog and filthy air" "When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?" When the hurly-burly's done When the battles lost, and won." "That will be ere the set of sun," "Where the place?" "Upon the Heath," "There to meet with...... ...Macbeth" In both films there is a long pause before the witch says Macbeth but in Welles' dramatic, exciting music is played then the opening credits start whilst in Polanski's after the witch says Macbeth the witches get up and walk of slowly. I think Polanski's opening suggests his film will have a sombre tone and it leaves the audience apprehensive to know who Macbeth is and what the witches have to do with him. If I did not know the story line of Macbeth I do not think I would have guessed that these three ladies were witches. I would have probably presumed them to be weird ladies who are outcast from their society. In contrast Welles' opening sets a fast paced, exciting tone for the film to come. It makes the audience believe that Macbeth is coutrelled by the witches' evil. Although I enjoyed both openings to the film, I would prefer to watch Welles' 1948 film rather than Polanski's version as I found it fast paced and exciting. Welles' film left me anxious to know who Macbeth was and what these evil witches had to do with him; Polanski's film left wondering more about the witches more than Macbeth himself. ?? ?? ?? ?? - 1 - ...read more.

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