Da'ud Bob's Movie Review
March 2015

It seemed like such a good idea at the time. It looked like a match made, if not in heaven, at least in Great Britain. I mean, Shakespeare's "Scottish play" with the title character played by a young, hot Scot? Sure, since the production had originally been done for TV, the transfer to DVD didn't have the highest quality, but with a young Sean Connery storming about the stage, who cared? And I do mean a young Sean Connery; this was released in 1961, just one year before his climb to fame in Dr. No, and just two years after his role as a romantic lead in Darby O'Gill and the Little People. And most of the other actors in the production were highly experienced folks with good resumes. So I had some pretty high hopes. Maybe too high. Maybe I should have thought to myself, "Self, this production was made in 1961 for a television audience. The sets probably aren't going to be anywhere movie standards. Ditto for the costuming. And you know the acting could be a mixed bag; I mean, sure, you've seen and reviewed a number of Sean Connery movies since then. And he does seem to get hotter with age. (Ah, if only I would, too.) But your anticipation is colored by those later movies. So tone down your expectations; you're placing way too much of a burden on what could be a typical early sixties presentation." But as it was for Ethel in the song "The Streak," it was too late. And so it is that this month Da'ud Bob reviews for you the 1961 Canadian TV version of Macbeth.

Starring Sean Connery in the title role, or as I would put it, "Macbeth. Seamus Macbeth" (but I'm sure I'm just being influenced by his movies as Agent 007 "Bond. James Bond"), with Zoe Caldwell as Lady Macbeth, William Needles as Banquo, Ted Follows ad MacDuff, Robin Gammell as Malcolm, Sharon Acker as Lady MacDuff, Rex Hagon as Fleance, Powys Thomas as Duncan, and Victoria Mitchell, Natalia Bulko, and Jacqueline Ivings as the three witches, the plot of this movie should already be familiar to you. IMDb puts it this way: "The Scottish lord Macbeth chooses evil as the way to fulfill his ambition for power. He commits regicide to become king and then furthers his moral descent with a reign of murderous terror." Or as a cartoon I recently saw put it, "Don't think of it as Shakespeare; think of it as a 'Game of Thanes.'"

Good points: This production seemed to have less messing about with Shakespeare's words than many productions. Fleance innocently sitting on the throne in Macbeth's presence. (You'll remember that the three witches told his father, Banquo, that Banquo would not be king but that he would sire a line of kings.)

Bad points: The castle set's odd angles. The throne. The costuming! Or as Anna Sue said, "That minimalist crap they went through in the sixties." Walking about carrying unsheathed swords. The castle doors. The voiceovers. (There were too many, and they started to distract from what was going on on-screen.) Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's crowns; you could do some real damage, impaling yourself or someone else on them. Does Lady Macbeth really sleep in that voluminous nightdress? I'm surprised she didn't smother herself in it in bed years ago. Placing an unsheathed sword in a leather belt. The fight choreography.

Zero breasts. Two dead bodies (on-screen; there were others that they didn't show). One gallon of blood. Dagger fu. Strangulation fu. Sword fu. Gratuitous trumpet fanfares. Academy Award nomination to Sean Connery as Macbeth for making the character much more energetic than in most productions. On the other hand, he also made him louder. An 89 on the Vomit Meter. 1 stars. Da'ud Bob says "It wasn't the worst version of the play that I've seen, but it was nowhere near the best, either. Check it out!"

Upcoming movies and miniseries to watch for!

April 5 - May 10, 2015

Masterpiece on PBS

Wolf Hall. Based on the novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, the miniseries is a fictionalized telling of the rise of Thomas Cromwell under King Henry VIII. Mark Rylance, Jonathan Pryce, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy, and Tom Holland.


2015 Macbeth. Yet another film of "the Scottish play," this time starring Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, Sean Harris, and David Thewlis. "A modern interpretation of the bard's tragedy, set in the claustrophobic confines of a stretch limousine which prowls the streets of a contemporary landscape as its agoraphobic passengers struggle for existential meaning in a dog eat dog world where only the fit survive, and tragedy unfolds."


February 12, 2016 Gods of Egypt. The Egyptian god of darkness, Set (Gerard Butler), has taken the throne of Egypt for himself. A young thief (Brenton Thwaites), with the aid of the god Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) seeks to defeat him. Brenton Thwaites, Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Geoffrey Rush, Rufus Sewell.

No official website yet.

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