Macbeth 1948 Olive Films Signature Edition
Orson Welles' expressionist, visually stunning version of Macbeth was the director's first attempt at a cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare. Shot quickly and cheaply, the film makes a virtue of its budget minimalism by setting the familiar play within a spartan, eerie wasteland of fog and bare rock. Welles surrounds this bleak, violent parable of power and ambition with swirling fog, twisted trees devoid of leaves, stark expanses of vague nothingness in which only the light-sculpted features of the play's protagonists stand out, as though they are declaiming into a void, spitting out their tormented speeches while already engulfed in the hell that awaits them for their vile deeds.

Welles is mostly faithful to the text of Shakespeare's play, shifting some words and characters around here and there, and somewhat emphasizing the religious subtext of the story, but mostly remaining true to the language and the story. Macbeth (Welles) is moved to murder the king by a prophecy given to him by three witches, further encouraged in the deed by his scheming, ambitious wife (Jeanette Nolan). His crime gets him the crown, but he's overcome by paranoia and madness, growing ever more bloodthirsty and reckless as he desperately defends his ill-gotten title.


Director: Orson Welles
Cast: Orson Welles, Jeanette Nolan, Dan O'Herlihy, Roddy McDowall, Alan Napier, Erskine Sanford
Country: USA
Genre: Drama, History, War

Like all but a handful of Welles's films made for the studios, Macbeth ended up sustaining significant cuts from its original 107-minute running time, in response to critical ire that Welles had taken too many liberties with the original text.
This new two-disc set contains two versions of the film which have been digitally restored. On Disc One, you will find the 1948 Version which is approximately 107 minutes long, while on Disc Two you will find the 1950 Version which is approximately 85 minutes long.

2 x BD50 | 1080p AVC | 01:47:14 + 01:24:56 | 69.6 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English

Extras:

Disc One

1948 Version - presented in 1080p/English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.

Commentary - in this new audio commentary, Orson Welles biographer Joseph McBride discusses in great detail the production history of Macbeth, the different versions of the film, its reception in the United States and abroad, the film's unique visual style and atmosphere, the use of music, etc. Wonderful commentary.

Disc Two

1950 Version - presented in 1080p/English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.

Welles and Shakespeare - in this video interview, Professor Michael Anderegg, author of Orson Welles, Shakespeare and Popular Culture, discusses Orson Welles' long and quite fascinating relationship with William Shakespeare's work, his time at Republic Pictures, and the filming of Macbeth (with some very interesting comments about the Christian elements that were introduced in the film). Professor Michael Anderegg also discusses the filming of Othello and Chimes at Midnight. In English, not subtitled. (12 min, 1080p).

Adapting Shakespeare on Film - in this new featurette, directors Carlo Carlei (Romeo and Juliet, The Flight of the Innocent) and Billy Morrissette (Scotland, PA) talk about their appreciation for Macbeth and Orson Welles' film. In English, not subtitled. (9 min, 1080p).

We Walk Again - presented here is an excerpt from We Walk Again, a 1937 WPA documentary containing scenes from Orson Welles' Federal Theatre Project production of Macbeth. In English, not subtitled. (8 min, 1080p).

That Was Orson Welles - in this new video interview, actor/writer/director Peter Bogdanovich recalls his first encounter with Orson Welles in Los Angeles and discusses their rather fascinating relationship during the years. There are additional comments about Orson Welles' work, working methods, and the visual style and structure of Macbeth. In English, not subtitled. (10 min, 1080p).

Restoring Macbeth - in this video interview, former UCLA Film & Television Archive Preservation Officer Robert Gitt addresses some of the dilemmas he faced during the restoration and reconstruction of Orson Welles' original version of Macbeth. In English, not subtitled. (9 min, 1080p).

Free Republic: Herber J. Yates and the Story of Republic Pictures - in this very informative featurette, archivist Marc Wanamaker discusses the fascinating history of Republic Pictures, some of its biggest hits and stars, and the filming of Macbeth. In English, not subtitled. (7 min, 1080p).

Orson Welles's Macbeth - an essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum. In text-format.

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