Comparing Two Different Film Versions of William Shakespeare's Macbeth
- Length: 1075 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)
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The Polanski version of Macbeth was very good. Polanski has re-enacted
the script in a very realistic way, and could afford to do so because
of the huge budget he had to work with.
The film was possibly set during the Elizabethan era. Because of the
huge budget, Polanski could afford to make everything perfect in his
film to resemble what life was really like at that time under the rein
of Queen Victoria. He could have the castle, the clothes and all the
props to make a really good interpretation of what life was like at
time in history.
For a start Polanski introduced a younger Lady Macbeth, Macbeth and
other cast members also changed. Polanski introduced his own style and
it worked well. He preferred to use the younger Macbeth and Lady
Macbeth rather then the middle aged, which was usually portrayed in
other scripts. But this move to a younger cast was a good one. Jon
Finch (Macbeth) is properly ambitious and brutish as the traitorous
lord. And Francesca Annis is a lovely Lady Macbeth.
The film is quite gruesome and brutal in some parts. It is a film with
the violence a strong point in it. It is full of kinetic disturbing
images of death and dying, decapitations and brutal swordplay abound.
But is still works well with Shakespeare's original script, which is
also thrilling and violent. It gives a more realistic feel to the film
with its gory and bloody detail.
The colour is lavish, and is used very well, in the large dining hall
and the use of the many guests and servants rich costumes. There is a
lot of detail with the props ad the costumes. The props are very
effective and pragmatic and also plentiful because of the huge budget
that was used. The castle, the courtyard and the furniture and other
authentic props all create a mood and atmosphere, which help build up
the realistic feeling.
There is also a good use of music, which sets the atmosphere.
example when the ghost of Banquo appears to Macbeth. The lighting is
also used very effectively for the shadows and the ghost scene, where
the place goes dark and the light is focused upon Macbeth and the
ghost of Banquo.
The actors of Macbeth and Banquo act out the whole ghost scene very
well. The use of the fake blood and the white makeup makes the ghost
seem so real, as you can clearly see the contrast between the living
and the dead, with the strong colour differences.
Polanski does have some text omitted and introduces some extra props
and scenes during the film. He introduces a scene of wild animals,
fighting bears and dogs, and also the bird of pray on the ghost of
Banquo's shoulder to reinforce the theme of violence and brutality.
The BBC version of Macbeth is a more theatrical version, and was set
on a low budget.
The film was set during the same times as that in the Polanski
version, the medieval times (1600's). The BBC used actors that are
middle aged. There are less guests and the making of the film is set
on a much smaller scale than that of the Polanski version.
The use of colour in the film is minor and the settings are dull and
drab, there are few guests and it is not particularly regal. The props
are not very spectacular because of the low budget that the film was
shot on. There is a small hall and few guests, and when the ghost
scene arises there is no actual viewing of the ghost itself. Instead
they use an empty chair. The chair is in the shape of an H, and could
be used to symbolise hell, and as a sign of the wrong doing that
Macbeth has carried out by killing Banquo.
The music and the lighting are very good and is used very effective.
The performances and acted out very well, but are somewhat overreacted
in some parts because of their theatrical approach to the making of
the film. The music and the lighting is used very effectively when the
ghost scene comes into play, to convey and emphasise the felling of
uncertainty and apprehension that Macbeth is going through at the
sight of the ghost. Which is acted out very well. They follow very
closely to the original text that Shakespeare wrote, and there are no
parts rearranged or added in.
Out of the two films, I would prefer the Polanski version to the BBC
version. There are a number of reasons for me doing so.
The Polanski version was more realistic than the BBC version because
of the budget they had to work with.
The props, lighting, music and the costumes and the colour were all
excellent. The props, the castle, the huge hall and the settings were
of a typical Elizabethan castle, and were very convincing to the
viewer. It provided them with a god insight as to what life was like
in that era.
The BBC version was a theatrical piece of acting, the performances
were very convincing but somewhat overreacted in certain parts. It had
a number of very positive points but overall I preferred the Polanski
version, the performances were restricted compare to that of the BBC
version but still very successful. With the useful lighting and music
and props, the ghost scene was made very authentic with the ghost
actually appearing, where as in the BBC version he did not. The H
chair was used instead to represent the ghost of Banquo.
If I were to produce this film I would make a few changes. I would
keep the original setting as in the other two films because I fell it
works very well with such a script.
I think the props are very important in a film, they set the mood, the
atmosphere and give an appearance to the film so we can relate the
props with the era the film is set in. I would have the castle walls,
a huge hall, the table and seats for the guests and two bigger seats
at either end of the table one of which would be Banquo's. There would
also be necessary background furniture and props to help set the
Clothing would be as it was in that era. I would use tunics, robes,
and other fine clothes of that time. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth would
have a crown, jewellery and rich clothing to emphasise the role, and
importance. All the guests would also be dressed in rich costumes
because they are highly ranked and respected people of Scotland of
that time. The servants and waiters would be in different clothing
from the guests to distinguish between their ranks.
The colour would be lavish. There would be plenty of expensive rich
colours, greens, reds, purples, gold, sliver and bronze. All the
costumes would consist of spectacular colours and materials, and would
look very extravagant. The servants would be dressed in black and
grey. There would be a long tablecloth running down the middle of the
table, red and green with gold and silver tassels. The windows would
be stained glass with an array of different colours, with long
curtains draped over them touching the ground. The table would be full
of food and beverages of all kinds, colour and shape. There would be
red to represent the brutality and the blood of Banquo, and the
whiteness to represent him dead.
The music and the lighting are very effective when used in the ghost
scene to accentuate what is happing and the music would provide the
spooky atmosphere. It would come on when the ghost appears and stop
when he disappears. The light will focus upon Macbeth and the ghost,
drawing everyone's attention to them and away from the rest of the
I would stick to Shakespeare's original text for Macbeth, but I would
add in some extra parts if needed. Like Polanski, I would add in some
new scenes, cast members or stage directions if necessary. I would
have the wild animals, and the bird of pray on the shoulder of
Banquo's ghost, to symbolise the violence and brutality of the play
itself. The bird of pray representing death.
I would have some famous people to act out the important roles.
Special effects are very important so would need to be very realistic.
I would have the ghost generated by a projector and when Macbeth
reaches out to touch him or hit him to prove he isn't insane, his
hands will go through the ghost as he starts to fade away and has