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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: May ::
Re: Problems in Macbeth
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.0835  Thursday, 1 May 2003

From:           Janet Costa <
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Date:           Wednesday, 30 Apr 2003 21:45:56 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 14.0820 Re: Problems in Macbeth
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.0820 Re: Problems in Macbeth

L. Swilly asks: Fascinating.  But what did the production do with Lady
M's lines: I, v, 44ff and I, vii, 54ff. ???  Were they deleted?

The problem here is a misunderstanding in Doyle's synopsis.

The film, Macbeth on the Estate, directed by Michael Bogdonov (1996),
shows Lady Macbeth receiving the letter as a message left by Macbeth on
the answering machine. She goes into the nursery which has a chest of
drawers and an empty crib. On the dresser is a photograph of an 18 -24
months old child. The infant has apparently died (I would think sudden
infant death or the drug wars), but the room and bed have been
definitely used. The "unsex me here" speech is given by Lady M in voice
over as she sinks to the floor between the chest and the crib.

It is the most emotionally charged treatment of Lady Macbeth that I have
ever seen on film, especially when directly contrasted to the Polanski.
In the audience I watched it with for the first time, the women were
shocked into stunned, teary silence.

As for the killing of Macduff's children, Bogdanov identifies this
moment (and you could be forgiven for thinking he's absolutely right) as
the one which pushes Lady Macbeth over the edge into insanity.

The film is on videotape at The Shakespeare Institute Library. It was a
production of ITV I believe, although I cannot say they would still have
a copy. When I was working on the construction of the Film Section for
The AllShakespeare.com Website, I published an essay on the film, but
there are no words to convey the power Bogdanov brings to the text on
film.

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