Set in present day New York in 1991, "Men of Respect" is a story of New York gangsters, in particular a mad-dog thug, Mike Battaglia, and his ambitious, highly unscrupulous wife Ruthie. “Macbeth” created by William Shakespeare was re-created into this modern day movie version. The various warring kingdoms of the play become organized crime factions in the film: King Duncan becoming the padrino or godfather of the main family, Charlie Di'Mico; Banquo becomes his buddy, Bankie Como; Macduff becomes Irish capo, Duffy. Screenwriter Reilly makes Macbeth over into ambitious Mafia underling, Mikey Battaglia, who is King Duncan’s lieutenant chief driven by a fortuneteller's prophecy and the influences of his even more treacherous wife to knock off the head of the D'Amico crime family and claim the top title for himself. The most significant aspect of the film is its total loyalty and devotion to the text of the play. The film follows the play scene for scene, at times line for line. A closer analysis of the characters and lines will compare the many differences and similarities between William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" and William Reilly's "Men of Respect."
The personality of Lady Macbeth or Ruthie Bataglia remains instinctive yet ruthless in her goal to get Mikey to become the "padrino." Some lines are paraphrased to Shakespeare's original version word for word. For example, Ruthie rebukes her husband saying, "Show a little ambition," and "If I was the man, I'd know what to do." Other lines were brilliantly revised to better understand the audience. Lady Macbeth’s says in the play, " I had given suck, and know how tender 'tis to love the bebe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have pluck'd my nipple from his bon...
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...th allows for much more accessibility in understanding the movie due to its rich and detailed text. The two mediums of exchange share a lot of similar aspects, but many of them are better understood in the context of the movie with having read and understood the play. Although the movie stays true to many occurrences in the play, however small changes have been made. The words or phrases used in each are the greatest difference because of the separate time frames. Phrases that are brought up from one to the other are for the purpose of better understanding the text. For example, the witches refer to Macbeth’s presence as “something wicked this way comes” which is altered in the movie as “It’s wicked out there.” Even though they have different meanings, the word “wicked” ties them together. The overall action of the movie follows right along with that of the play.
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