Macbeth (1948)

Film Studies

Remote Classroom:
“What’s Done Cannot Be Undone”: Macbeth on Film

Tuesday, February 9, 2021, 6:30 pm ET (75-90 minutes)  
Instructor: Jacob Mazer, Special Programming Manager, BMFI

Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” Three weird figures meet Macbeth on a stormy heath and prophesy his rise to the throne, beginning a bloody descent into darkness for the soldier, his wife, and their nation, and opening William Shakespeare’s unforgettable tragedy. Many credit its inspiration, in part, to the 1605 “Gunpowder Plot” that threatened the life of King James I, but the play’s engagement with questions of power, ambition, morality, gender, and fate have captured the imaginations of artists and audiences into the present day 

Indeed, despite the superstitions surrounding its performance, “the Scottish play” has been the basis of some of cinema’s most powerful Shakespearean adaptations. In this seminar, we’ll examine the ways in which various filmmakers have adapted the work to reflect their own sensibilities, aesthetics, and historical moments, including (but not limited to) Orson Welles’s noirish, primordial rendition from 1948; Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (1957), which transposes the story to feudal Japan; and Roman Polanski’s quasi-psychedelic version, which, in 1971, came on the heels of the Manson murders. Join us to learn about a few different cinematic takes on Macbeth in one fell swoop. 

Students will receive email confirmation of their registration immediately, and another email with instructions for joining the class via Zoom about 24 hours before the lecture. Please be sure to check your clutter/junk/spam folders for these emails. If you cannot locate these emails, please email us.

Course Information

$15 for members, $20 for non-members

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  • Tuesday, February 9 · 6:30 pm