Blu-ray, DVD Release: Macbeth (1948)

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Sept. 18, 2012
Price: DVD $24.95, Blu-ray $29.95
Studio: Olive Films


Macbeth movie sceneOrson Welles brushed up on his Shakespeare when he directed and starred in a 1948 film adaptation of The Bard’s immortal drama Macbeth.

Welles’ dark and moody screen version of the classic tragedy about a presumptuous Scottish prince’s quest for power through patricide keeps with both the play’s spirit and Welles’ vision. As with his other films (Citizen Kane, The Stranger), Welles effectively mixes the use of shadow and oblique camera angles to achieve—in this case—an ominous feeling of a land in peril.

Also starring Jeanette Nolan (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) and Roddy McDowall, Welles’ Macbeth was originally cut to 89 minutes for its theatrical release following poor test screenings and complaints about Welles’ decision to have his cast speak in Scottish burrs. The Olive Films edition has been restored to its full 107-minute running time. Additionally, the original Scottish-tinged soundtrack was restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Folger Shakespeare Library.

There are no bonus features included along with the movie, which Olive Films says has been remastered in HD from a nitrate fine grain print.

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.