Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
Scholars Online Educational Resources

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All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus
Cymbeline
Hamlet
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Othello
Pericles
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale
Shakespeareana

Available versions

1948: Orson Welles

1954: George Schaefer

1961: Paul Almond

1971: Roman Polanski

1979: Philip Casson

1981: Arthur Allan Seidelman

1983: Jack Gold

1997: Jeremy Freeston

1998: Michael Bogdanov

2001: Gregory Doran

2006: Geoffrey Wright

2009: Colleen Stovall

2010: Rupert Goold

2014: Eve Best


Adaptations

1957: Throne of Blood

1991: Men of Respect

1991: Scotland, PA

1992: Nikolai Serebryakov, Dave Edwards (animated)

1999: Macbeth in Manhattan

2005: ShakespeaRe-Told: Macbeth


Production drama

2003: Slings and Arrows (Season 2)


Educational

2008: This Is Macbeth

2013: Shakespeare Uncovered (Season 1, Ep. 2)


Macbeth
1954: George Shaefer

A made-for-television classic from the early years, starring two legendary Shakespeareans, Maurice Evans and Judith Anderson. It’s a scratchy and flickery reproduction of a black and white film, with a noisy soundtrack, but what there is forms a welcome addition to the lineup. The leads, of course, were well-known, and justifiably so, though on some modern standards their performances seem a bit over the top. Lady Macbeth’s speech asking to be filled with cruelty, etc., is rather overdone, I think; she also seems a little on the old side for Lady Macbeth, though there is no logical upper limit to her age. Her later appearances as she descends into madness are, however, quite arresting.

Evans as Macbeth is compellingly plausible throughout, I think, and his management of the lines is generally thoughtful and nuanced. The decision to put the second visitation to the witches into a dream of Macbeth’s is something that makes me a little uneasy — I’m generally skeptical of trying to rationalize the supernatural element of these plays — but here I think it works.

There are also some minor roles that are substantial and worthy of attention. Duncan in particular is well-played. The drunken porter (J. Pat O’Malley, known to audiences probably more for his voicing of various parts in animated Disney films than for any live-action appearances) plays his single scene as well as I have seen. While all of these performances attest, to some extent, the aesthetics of another day, most of them are worth seeing, and we can be very grateful not to have lost them.

The film clocks in at just under an hour and three quarters; it’s not by any means complete, therefore. It is more capacious than the Paul Almond version with Sean Connery (1961), though, and it has most of the scenes represented in the proper order. Nevertheless, those scenes are fairly substantially pared back. One is grateful for what one can get — but look to another version for a more complete handling of the text of the play.

The DVD on which the current release appears also contains some remarkable footage of George Bernard Shaw, discussing the difference of his plays with Shakespeare’s, focusing most particularly on the character of Julius Caesar. I personally don’t agree with him, but seeing Shaw speaking, together with some footage of an early production of Julius Caesar, is worth attention.


Angus: Michael Kane

Banquo: Staats Cotsworth

Doctor: Noel Leslie

Donalbain: Peter Fernandez

First Murderer: George Eberling

First Witch: Jane Rose

Fleance: John Reese

King Duncan: House Jameson

Lady Macbeth: Judith Anderson

Lady Macduff: Margot Stevenson

Macbeth: Maurice Evans

Macduff’s Son: Rhoden Streeter

Macduff: Richard Waring

Malcolm: Roger Hamilton

Porter: J. Pat O’Malley

Ross: Guy Sorel

Second Witch: Frieda Altman

Servant: Val Wrenne