Macbeth 1961


Although Roman Polanski’s bloody 1971 version is probably the best version to date, there’s plenty to enjoy in this 1961 effort, with Sean Connery ideally cast in his pre-Bond pomp as the errant Scottish King. Director Paul Almond films Shakespeare’s story at a clip, just over 80 minutes, and cuts the action to the bare bones; the minimalist set resembles a carpeted spaceship, and the witches look like a forgotten girl group rather than crones. But as a recording of Connery’s performance, this version has just the right centre; Connery’s delivery is excellent, and it’s a shame that Almond favoured delivering the soliloquies in voice over, since it robs some of the best moment of their power. The black and white presentation emphasises the baldness of the production, but this Macbeth is an engaging curio.

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