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Comparing and contrasting the three video versions of

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Introduction

Rory Buckingham 10S 6 December 2003 Comparing and contrasting the three video versions of "Macbeth", Act 1, Scene 7. To help us compare and contrast the three video versions of "Macbeth" Act 1, Scene 7, we watched them. The first version was a more modern and in a way futuristic recreation of the scene, starring John Gordon Sinclair as Macbeth and Louise Lombard playing Lady Macbeth. The second version was a B.B.C Television version, the scene was made as a one off with Nicol Williamson playing Macbeth and Jane Lapotaire playing Lady Macbeth. The third version was a film produced by Roman Polanski and was no doubt the most detailed of the three. In Polanski's version John Finch played Macbeth and Francesca Annis played Lady Macbeth. Scene 7 has been created to emphasise Macbeths' doubts about murdering the King, for it is the only way he will become King himself, as the three witches proclaimed. At one point his mind is set that he will no longer go ahead with the murder for it is far too risky, but his persistent wife restores his confidence once again, she is clearly the backbone of this plan. ...read more.

Middle

Once the conversation has ended Macbeth and Lady Macbeth leave the room and walk through an avenue of blue lights, possibly used to represent the cold agreement to murder the King. Almost all the lighting and focus in the B.B.C version is concentrated on Macbeth's face. This is an extremely effective way of emphasising Macbeth's facial expressions, reactions and emotions at such a traumatic time, showing us how he really feels. Even when Lady Macbeth enters the lighting remains focussed on Macbeth's face. The lighting used in the B.B.C version is no doubt effective, but very bland compared to the other two versions. The Polanski version of the scene includes a wide variety of lighting. When cameras are focussed on the banquet, a warm, bright and colourful lighting is used, including open fires, whereas exterior shots of the castle are filmed at night, so are very dark and gloomy. While Macbeth performs his speech, camera and lighting is focussed on his face, this is a very effective was of emphasising how he really feels, although background action can be seen and heard. The sound in the modern version includes much background noise, but is nowhere near distinctive enough to divert attention away from the actors. ...read more.

Conclusion

The camera remains focussed on Macbeth until Lady Macbeth enters. Once again an over the shoulder view is taken to show Lady Macbeth's reaction and response when Macbeth refuses to kill the King. The camera angles in this version have much more emphasis on the actor's faces than the modern version. The last version of the scene, Palanski's version, is by far the most intricate of the three versions when it comes to camera work. The scene begins with panning across the set, much like the B.B.C version, until a focus on Macbeth's face is fixed and we hear the voiceover announcing his thoughts. The biggest significance in this version is the external shots of the castle, where the scene is set, really showing the contrast between the party inside, and the storm outside. Not one of the other version include external shots of the set, creating the impression of a higher budget production. Like the modern version, many of the camera shots of the actors are waste upward, emphasising reactions, responses and emotions. In my opinion Polanski's version was no doubt the best, it re-enacted the play "Macbeth" to a degree the other two version could only dream of. Intricate camera angles, attention to detail, emphasis on key points and excellent setting all added to the overall feel of authenticity. ...read more.

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