Skip to main content

Chico State's University Film Series to Present Orson Welles's Macbeth on April 17

Orson Welles's Macbeth will be shown as part of Chico State's University Film Series on Tuesday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m. in Ayres 106.

Using ideas developed for earlier stage productions, Orson Welles shot this film on the Republic Studios' back lot in twenty-three days, creating a kind of Dark-Ages surrealism to present Macbeth as a clash between Christianity and Celtic paganism. The studio later forced Welles to cut the film by twenty minutes and to have his actors redub their parts without Scottish accents. The Film Series will show Welles's original version, uncut, with the burrs intact.


Jesus Quiroz said…
I went to this event at Chico and was really good and easy to not getting bored unlike other Macbeth. Since it was a lot faster than the Polanski version it was easy to follow but doesn't give you the full version of Macbeth and cuts of some stuff. However, i did like Orson Welles still better than Polanski.
aocampo4 said…
I have to agree with Jesus. I did feel the other Macbeth was a little dragged out. I enjoyed this version better because it had more of a mythical feel than the one we watched in class. It makes a difference to have the actors tape and later act out the scenes. This made the film even more interesting before watching. It felt like the actors were focused on the emotion they should be bringing to the scene. I believe it made the fill different and more interesting.
BradMar said…
I agree with both blogs about how interesting it was that the actors taped and than acted out the scenes, making them appear move engaged and in tune with the scenes. However this movie was hard for me to follow and understand where the plot was going.
Logan said…
I've gotta say that I enjoyed viewing multiple versions of Macbeth, and despite the differences between them I appreciate Welles approach to this rendition. The variation between this portrayal and Polanski's are quite stark especially in terms of the treatment of gore, and the power the witches have on Macbeth. Aside from the acting differences, both versions stand on their own as powerful pieces. Given Welles' budget, time constraints, and year of creation this is a notable Shakespearean portrayal.
Mtay said…
Between this showing and the showing in class, I must say Orson's version was much better. In complete honesty I am saying this because it was shorter and more to the point. I was able to enjoy this film much more purely because I didn't feel like it was dragging on and on. I was able to actually engage and enjoy the film all the way through instead of losing interest after the first hour and a half
Blayne Schmidt said…
I liked both this version of Macbeth and the showing we saw in class. This film was shorter but less theatrical to me and therefore less entertaining. Polanksi brought the story to life more for me than Welles' was able to.

Popular posts from this blog

Accurate List of Hamlet's Soliloquies

Though Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech is his fourth soliloquy, many websites call it his third. They're skipping the twenty-line speech that follows his interview with the Ghost, which in my view is a particularly bad mistake since Hamlet's monomaniacal vow there is at the heart of his tragedy.

The internet's cosmic sinkhole of misinformation will never be filled, but it's worth throwing some dirt in when we can, so here's an accurate list of Hamlet's soliloquies, with a short description of where they occur and what they say, along with a few observations.

Shakespeare and Stonehenge

The recent discovery of what may be Britain's largest Neolithic monument made me think about how strange it is that Shakespeare never mentions Stonehenge. After all, the place is near his hometown, and we know that he read Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, which includes a description of how Merlin set up the stones as a monument to fallen Celtic warriors (157-160). We might expect Shakespeare to allude to that story somewhere in Cymbeline or King Lear since Geoffrey is his main source for both plays.

The idea that Celtic Britons, instead of people who lived thousands of years earlier, built Stonehenge has persisted. Many people still think, in the words of Spinal Tap, that the monument was built by "a strange race of people, the Druids" (and other Celts).

This was the educated view at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when William Charles Macready used a Stonehenge-inspired set for his groundbreaking King Lear (St. Clare Byrne 189). Others di…

Shakespeare-Movie Soliloquies and Orson Welles's Chimes at Midnight

Directors usually handle Shakespearean soliloquies in three ways: (1) they have actors speak directly to the audience, as they would have on the Elizabethan stage; (2) they have actors speak to the air, as if yammering on cellphones; or (3) they use a voice-over, as if we were wire-tapping the characters' brains.
Each strategy has its advantages.
Speaking directly to the audience works well for villains, who share their nasty schemes, preparing us to watch with horror as they dupe unknowing victims. The technique also allows for dark comedy: for example, Ian McKellan's Richard III and Harry J. Lennix's Aaron (in Julie Taymor's Titus) act as satanic stand-up comedians, terrifying us and making us laugh with the same speech.
Having actors talk to themselves produces a different effect, allowing us to pretend we're hearing a character's inward thoughts. This works in both comedies and tragedies. In a comedy, we laugh—or chuckle inwardly—when we hear Emma Thompson'…