The Four Macbeths
I tried to watch the Ian McKellen version (1979) but turned it off after ten minutes. I don’t turn films off – ever – but this time I had to. I’m trying to compare Throne of Blood (Macbeth via Japan) and Orson Welles’ and Justin Kurzel’s interpretations which were made as films, not filmed from the stage production.
I’ll come back to this version to hear the delivery of the actors. It makes no difference that the sets are minimalist. I think Shakespeare is about the intent and delivery of the action and lines.
Likewise, it’s unfair to compare Kurosawa’s Macbeth with any other Macbeth because Kurosawa’s film isn’t giving us William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Welles (1947), Kurzel (2015) and Trevor Nunn (1979) do give us Shakespeare’s Macbeth, in various lengths with various cuts. Trevor Nunn’s version runs 145 minutes compared with sub-2 hours.
Like most things, there are the cut-down versions, be it a recipe, a piece of music, a play, a book or even a painting, photograph, or sculpture (often accidental).
It’s all in the words. If you read a Readers Digest version of anything you’ll get lots of the great words, but more of a concentration of the plot. Same with the plays adapted for films. They choose the most pivotal scenes and the greatest words (sometimes) but not the entire recipe.
With Classical music there are definitely audio releases that have the best of or highlights but in live performances generally you get the entire work performed. Even if it’s Wagner.
It would be interesting to compare the Shakespeare that Welles included which Kurzel did or didn’t include and vice versa.
Welles was limited by budget to create something just a few levels above a stage performance: filmed. But he did it. It’s a film, not a documentary. Kurzel has Shakespeare’s words, a significant budget, a significant actor and delivers a significant film, on any level. The criticism of all of them, as always, would be in the performances no matter who plays Macbeth or any other character.
I read somewhere, sometime, that Romeo and Juliet was a poem before Shakespeare turned it into a play. That fact, if it is true, illustrates that the words which describe the plot – the narrative, the story – are as important or even more important than the subject and the events within that plot.
‘Fixing an Infection’
I have a meeting tonight with a mate of a mate to work out how to fix the fact that my website philippowers.com is infected with Malware according to Google and Norton and every other antivirus software that consults their black lists. [Editor: This problem is fixed.]