British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Orson Welles’ Macbeth Restored

Alternative title
Macbeth (1948)
Synopsis
Feature film adaptation of the Welles’s B-movie production. The video and DVDs are fully restored versions of Orson Welles’ MACBETH, based on his Mercury Theatre production.
Language
English
Country
United States
Medium
Film
Technical information
Black-and-white / Sound

Credits

Director
Orson Welles
Producer
Orson Welles
Cinematographer
John L. Russell
Writer
William Shakespeare
Music
Jacques Ibert
Costume
Adele Palmer; Fred Ritter; Orson Welles
Art Direction
Fred Ritter
Cast
Orson WellesMacbeth
Jeanette NolanLady Macbeth
Dan O. O’HerlihyMacduff
Roddy McDowallMalcolm
Edgar BarrierBanquo
Alan NapierHoly Father
Brainerd DuffieldMurderer (1st)
Erskine SandfordKing Duncan
Gus SchillingPorter
Jerry FarberFleance
Lionel BrahamSiward, Earl of Northumberland
Peggy WebberLady Macduff
Robert AlanMurderer (3rd)
William AllandMurderer (2nd)

Additional Details

Production type
Fiction Films
Historical period
Medieval
Plays
Macbeth
Subjects
Drama; Shakespeare
Keywords
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)
Related items
Orson Welles Story, The

Notes

Notes
2003 Second Sight DVD version, with 17 scenes, features ‘Orson Welles’ Ghost Story: Return to Glennascaul’; scene selection; interactive menus. Academy aspect ratio 1.33:1.

Released on DVD and Blu-ray by Carlotta Films (France, 2014) [20.06 Euros +P&P; Blu-Ray 25.07 Euros + P&P] (includes both long and short versions) with removeable subtitles. Extras include: "MACBETH MAUDIT" (25 minutes); A personal lecture on the film by Denis Lavant; LES DEUX "MACBETH" D’ORSON WELLES (27 minutes)
An analysis by Welles expert François Thomas; WELLES ET SHAKESPEARE (14 minutes); An analysis by Welles expert Jean-Pierre Berthomé; . LE CHÂTEAU ET LA LANDE... (14 minutes) An analysis of the film’s design and sets by Jean-Pierre Berthomé, using the sketches and drawings of Orson Welles; LE BRUIT ET LA FUREUR (14 minutes). An interview with Stuart Seide, theatre director.
MACBETH VAUDOU (9 minutes) Preceded with an introduction by François Thomas this shows the only four minutes filmed of ‘Voodoo Macbeth’, staged by Orson Welles in 1936 with Afro-American actors; MACBETH: ENREGISTREMENTS DISCOGRAPHIQUE (78 mn) Directed by Orson Welles in 1940, with the actors of the Mercury Theatre.
The Olive Films version is available on Blu-ray (Region A) and DVD (NTSC region 1). Disc features: New High-Definition digital restoration;
Includes 1948 and 1950 versions; Audio commentary with Welles biographer Joseph McBride; ‘Welles and Shakespeare’ - an interview with Welles scholar Professor Michael Anderegg; ‘Adapting Shakespeare on Film’- a conversation with directors Carlo Carlei (ROMEO & JULIET)) and Billy Morrissette (SCOTLAND, PA); Excerpt from WE WORK AGAIN, a 1937 WPA documentary containing scenes from Welles’ Federal Theatre Project production of Macbeth; ‘That Was Orson Welles’ - an interview with Welles’ close friend and co-author, Peter Bogdanovich; ‘Restoring Macbeth’ - an interview with former UCLA Film & Television Archive Preservation Officer Bob Gitt; ‘Free Republic: The Story of Herbert J. Yates and Republic Pictures’ ; ‘The Two Macbeths" - an essay by critic Jonathan Rosenbaum.
Textual information
The original length of the 1948 film was 9,633ft. According to Frank Brady in Citizen Welles’ (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989) the film Welles originally delivered was cut by nearly half an hour to 107 minutes for release in 1948. Following adverse reactions, particularly to the Scottish accents, Welles largely recorded the soundtrack, the film being cut to 89 minutes and re-released in 1951. It is in this form that the film was most widely reviewed and referred to in most reference sources.
Reviews
McKernan, Luke and Olwen Terris. Walking Shadows: Shakespeare in the National Film and Television Archive. London: BFI, 1994 (p.
91-2). - ‘what good there is in the film is there in spite of Shakespeare’.

Production Company

Name

Mercury Productions

Name

Republic Pictures Corporation

Distributor

Name

Carlotta Films

Web
http://carlottavod.com External site opens in new window
Phone
01 42 24 10 86
Fax
01 42 24 16 78
Address
9 Passage de la Boule Blanche
75012 Paris
France
Name

Olive Films

Email
customerservice@olivefilms.com
Web
http://www.olivefilms.com/ External site opens in new window
Fax
+ 1 630 444 1759
Address
707 Colomba Court
Suite 109
Saint Charles, IL
60174
USA
Name

Second Sight Films Ltd

Email
info@secondsightfilms.co.uk
Web
http://www.secondsightfilms.co.uk External site opens in new window
Phone
020 8977 0553
Fax
020 8977 1470
Address
16 Connaught Road
Teddington
London
TW11 0PS
Notes
A UK DVD distributor of celebrated classics and cult cinema from around the world, as well as some television titles. Sale via retail outlets.

Distributor (Hire)

Name

BFI Film Bookings Unit

Email
bookings.films@bfi.org.uk
Web
http://www.bfi.org.uk/about-bfi/help-faq/film-bookings External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7957 8938 / 8935
Address
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN

Distributor (Sale)

Name

Retail outlets

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