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Film and Theatre Versions/Productions of Macbeth

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The Beauty of the Theatre is the Ability of the Directors who adapt original plays for their intended purpose and audience One of the most important aspects of a film is its opening scene. From the very start, you can be informed about the keynote and theme of the film. It is the opening scene that wants you to watch on, and it is the opening scene in which many films are remembered for. It is the role of the director to make such scenes stick in the heads of their audience, and how they interoperate the scene in question is all down to the style and technique of the director (and also the money in which they have for the special effects!). Some directors may take the play in question for what it is for, and copy it exactly, which can be just as effective. But other directors have the ability to look deeper into the play, and find meanings of phrases, and actions, and turn them into bigger parts of the film, thus altering the original into something a bit different, but just as good. When Macbeth was preformed in the Globe, in the Elizabethan times, there was not a lot of resources available for special effects, ...read more.


Macbeth is the witches' evil creation - he's the one they're after Polanski's version opens with a long shot of the sky and the beach at dawn. All is quiet and still as the shot is held. You notice that the sky is red - a warning sign of danger, but it's a very beautiful image. The sky then gradually turns to a blue-grey, and far more foreboding colour. The red bleeds out and disappears. This is not going to be a bright day bathed in sunlight - Macbeth isn't a bright and cheerful story. The fact that it is on a beach tells you that it could be any year, as there are no other buildings around to view. Nothing else is happening so you notice this, and what Polanski is doing is drawing your attention to how he will use colour in the film. It's a measured, low-key start. The scene is upon a beach, and, like the original play, not upon a heath. Into the seen appears a horrid, withered hand, and it draws a circle in the sand, a place where they are to dig. But circles have a deeper meaning than to mark out where to dig. ...read more.


The dialogue is spoken low-key, very quietly - these witches are in control and self-assured. As in the Welles film Shakespeare's words are re-ordered, and they finish on the name Macbeth, so right from the start you know whom the story is going to be about. The witches walk off slowly into the mist and soft, eerie music starts, not dissimilar to the music used by Welles. The witches head off in different directions, the oldest and youngest together, and the middle one possibly goes off to deal with the sailor's wife. Although both films use Shakespeare's Act One scene 1 as a starting point, the approaches are completely different. Welles hits the audience very quickly, while Polanski is more low-key and subtle. There's more concrete detail in the Polanski film that we can respond to in a variety of ways, while you know what effects Welles is aiming for in his version. I don't think that if the witches had've stuck directly to the text it would have been more interesting. Their alteration makes the play more interesting, and that is a good touch. Both these opening acts give you a thirst for more of the film, and they are an excellent way to start Macbeth off. ...read more.

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