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Poster for Macbeth


Director: Orson Welles Run Time: 92 min. Format: 35mm Rating: R Release Year: 1948

Starring: Dan O'Herlihy, Jeanette Nolan, Orson Welles, Roddy McDowall

Orson Welles adapts William Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy, MACBETH, for the March screening of VICE Presents: The Film Foundation Screening Series at Nitehawk Cinema.

Something wicked this way comes…Moody and atmospheric, Macbeth tells the story of a doomed Scottish General (Macbeth, played by Welles) who murders his way to the throne to become the King of Scotland. This devious action, foretold by a trio of witches that get more prominently featured in the film, was spurred on by his conniving wife (Lady Macbeth, played by Jeanette Nolan) and sets the course of a lifetime of guilt and paranoia. As a tyrannical ruler, Macbeth commits numerous murders to retain his power while the resulting civil war takes his family into the realms of madness and death.

Shot for little more than three weeks and on B-movie sets, Orson Welles underscores the darkness of Shakespeare’s play Macbeth in film by usage of shadowing and unique camera angle work. A few adjustments were made for the big screen; most notably the inclusion of the prophetic three witches casting a spell on Macbeth in the beginning and their return at the end. 

MACBETH (Orson Welles, 1948)
Preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive in cooperation with Paramount Pictures with funding provided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation.

Print courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.