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comparrison of two macbeth films

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A Comparison of two Macbeth films In this essay I will compare two Macbeth films, these films where both based on Shakespeare's Macbeth. One by Roman Polanski the other by Trevor Nunn. These Macbeth films were both very different. The two films were made in the early 1970's, these directors were both very young and unexperienced in the art of film making at the time, Trevor Nunn had never made a film before in his life. The young men had come from very different backgrounds. Trevor Nunn (although he was still young) had been a student at Cambridge university and was already the director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, of which many famous actors and actresses have been members, it is regarded as the most elite theatre company in the world. He was also a member of the English cultural establishment, so he was very well respected. On the other hand, Roman Polanski is a polish Jew and also an orphan. He had escaped from a German concentration camp when he was just a boy, his dad had made a hole in a wall near the fence of the camp and pushed him through it, and saved his life. ...read more.


Nunn's soundtrack at the beginning of the film is heavy organ music this is quite clever because people normally think of vampire films when they think of organ music, so when the camera focuses on the witches it magnifies their evilness. When the camera focuses on Duncan the organ music serves to emphasize his holiness and goodness. This is a very smart idea because by doing this he very effectively implying the battle between good and evil. After Polanski's shot of the sunrise the camera then focuses in mid shot on the three witches, one of the older witches eyes seemed to have been taken out of their sockets. They then start performing a ritual which involves burying objects in the sand. These objects include a hangman's noose, a freshly severed hand and forearm, so fresh it is still pliable. To an audience of that time it would have been shocking and grotesque. Once the ritual is over the witches then turn their backs on the camera and walk slowly along the beach into the distance. The process of getting the witches from the foreground into the distance has been cut short because of clever editing, so they reach the end of the beach in a matter of seconds. ...read more.


Another thing that needs to be achieved is to introduce the characters and themes well. While Trevor Nunn has cleverly introduced the themes of kingship and power, he fails to accomplish the most important purpose of the start of a film, hooking the viewer. In contrast Polanski has gone out of his way to shock, sicken and revolt his audience with images of violence, thereby making it more realistic, this in affect does hook the audience. The differing approach of each director is due to their different situations, the production values of each director was very different. Trevor Nunn had been paid up front and did not have to make his film popular or have it approved to a wide audience, he could afford to make his priority to faithfully represent Shakespeare's original script. Polanski's situation was the exact opposite he had sunk and invested every single penny he owned and had also taken out massive bank loans to make Macbeth. In order for him to pay back the money the film had to be be on general release and had to be very popular. Having made his film popular he had to make sure it remained so. He did this very effectively because he treated everyone to a very enjoyable time and a fantastic cinematic experience, with a film that has stood the test of time, whereas in my opinion Nunn's has not. ...read more.

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