HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Deadpool 2
Smart Money
Lupin the Third vs. Detective Conan: The Movie
Gangsta
3 Nuts in Search of a Bolt
Magic Serpent, The
That's Not Me
There Goes the Bride
Billy the Kid versus Dracula
Liquid Sword
I, Tonya
Universal Soldier: Regeneration
Bad Match
Güeros
Anchor and Hope
One, The
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Lucky
Still of the Night
Home Sweet Homicide
Mannaja - A Man Called Blade
Spitfire
Killers from Space
Castle of the Creeping Flesh
Ghost Stories
Wild Boys, The
Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai, The
Four Rode Out
Lethal Weapon 3
Kit Curran Radio Show, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
   
 
  Tragedy of Macbeth, The Lust For GloryBuy this film here.
Year: 1971
Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Jon Finch, Francesca Annis, Martin Shaw, Terence Bayler, John Stride, Nicholas Selby, Stephan Chase, Paul Shelley, Maisie MacFarquhar, Elsie Taylor, Noelle Rimmington, Noel Davis, Sydney Bromley, Richard Pearson, Michael Balfour, Keith Chegwin
Genre: Horror, Historical
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Three witches assemble on the beach and dig a hole with their hands, burying in it a length of noose, a severed hand and a dagger, thereby setting in motion the way they see things playing out with the rulers of medieval Scotland. Duncan (Nicholas Selby) is currently the King and one of his most trusted Lords, Macbeth (Jon Finch) has been instrumental in defeating the rebellious Thane of Cawdor who will soon be put to death, but on the way back through the countryside with his best friend Banquo (Martin Shaw) he encounters the witches himself...

And they have a bit of news for him, which arguably could have either been them predicting the future or manufacturing it by planting the seed of uprising into Macbeth's mind. If that is never cleared up, the rest of the forthcoming conflict is plain to see: the Lord who never thought of anything but serving his King has been corrupted by the ideas of his own glory, and while we may think he deserves our sympathy at the beginning, by the end he has become a monster, which was all too fitting under the circumstances. This was director Roman Polanski's version of the William Shakespeare play, which to all intents and purposes refashioned the classic text as a down and dirty horror movie.

Which meant blood and gore in as much quantity as the censor would allow, which was quite a lot when you were dealing with the untouchable Shakespeare, as if his distant involvement was a mark of quality no matter what had been done with his material. Polanski scripted this with noted British critic and writer Kenneth Tynan, who went on to describe the director as "the four foot Pole you wouldn't want to touch with a ten foot pole", and it's true many viewers found his approach disturbing in light of what had happened in his life a couple of years before. That being the murder of his pregnant wife Sharon Tate and her friends by followers of Charles Manson, which, if you believed the pop psychology of the day, indicated the violence of that fed into Polanski's work.

While it may have been relegated to showings in classrooms in an attempt for teachers to get their pupils interested in the Bard, thereby diminishing the concern it engendered back in 1971, it's accurate to note that there seem to be some demons being exorcised here. Polanski appears to be itching to get to the scenes where he can confront the audience with the implications of the play, that people in medieval times, and perhaps still in modern ones, are essentially bestial and it doesn't take much to push them over the edge into the most savage of acts. Granted in the century Shakespeare was writing about that may have been the case, but in this any veneer of civilisation we may have achieved since was established as a sham for it was those acts of brutality which brought us to where we are now.

Apart from all that, this Macbeth is almost perversely unfriendly to watch, with its icy visuals and atonal music by the Third Ear Band which is an acquired taste to say the least, never mind the bloodletting. Not all of it succeeds: while Finch has the saturnine brooding down pat, his soliliquies were relegated to voiceover, which tends to undercut them when they're played over the actor staring into the middle distance. And as Lady Macbeth, Francesca Annis lacked the steely proportions of malevolence which would have made her more convincing as the catalyst to her husband's wicked deeds, though they do make for an uncomfortably believable pair of social climbers in their setting. When Polanski gets to flex his muscles in such nightmarish scenes where Macbeth meets the coven or the final, gruelling swordfight (which climaxes with a startlingly real-looking beheading), that is what this version is worth watching for. A prestige-seeking Playboy financed it, much to their chagrin when it was a flop, and British viewers may find a young Keith Chegwin as Fleance jarring.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1552 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Roman Polanski  (1933 - )

French-born Polish director who has been no stranger to tragedy - his mother died in a concentration camp, his pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate, was murdered by the Manson family - or controversy - he was arrested for raping a 13-year-old girl in the late 1970s.

Polanski originally made an international impact with Knife in the Water, then left Poland to make Cul-de-Sac and Repulsion in Britain. More acclaim followed with Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown in Hollywood, but his work after escaping America has been inconsistent. At his best, he depicts the crueller side of humanity with a pitch black sense of humour. He also takes quirky acting roles occasionally.

Other films include Dance of the Vampires, adaptations of Macbeth and Tess, What?, The Tenant, dire comedy Pirates, thriller Frantic, the ridiculous Bitter Moon, Death and the Maiden and The Ninth Gate. He won an Oscar for directing Holocaust drama The Pianist, which he followed with an adaptation of Oliver Twist and political thriller The Ghost; he nearly did not complete the latter having been re-arrested on that rape charge. Next were adaptation of stage plays Carnage and Venus in Fur.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
  Dan Malone
   

 

Last Updated: