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
1961: Paul Almond

A rather compressed black and white version of the play (85 minutes) starring Sean Connery in the title role. Ultimately, I’d classify this as Shakespeare Lite: it is a made-for-television condensation when there was an interest in bringing High Culture to the small screen, but on the assumption that a general audience would watch it. Accordingly it was apparently important not to over-burden the audience with difficult thoughts or art of much complexity. The scenes are slashed mercilessly, and in so short a play, the cost is all the more apparent. Perhaps indicative is the fact that the first scene brings us Macbeth and Banquo — sliding right past the anticipatory buildup of the character that the actual play provides.

The play feels as if it had been shot on a sound stage, with atmospheric fog and the wind sounds added to make it seem like a location shoot. The sets are primitive and blockish, and devoid of any kind of detail, but not an obstruction. The costumes are very broadly generalized, and rather silly with their projecting shoulder pieces. The film quality (at least what remains now) is rather blurry.

Within these limited bounds, the actors do a relatively good job. Connery himself portrays a noble Macbeth of some considerable stature in more than a physical sense. If one doesn’t begin with a reasonably powerful Macbeth, his transformation and fall from grace and morality becomes the less. Zoe Caldwell’s Lady Macbeth is neither very engaging nor particularly frightening; then again, she’s given a rather savagely pruned script to work with. The porter scene is also cut, but what remains is effective, though it’s been cleaned up from its somewhat bawdy original form. Some of the other secondary characters declaim their lines with mellifluous tones, but yet don’t entirely seem to know what they mean. All in all, the film is definitely worth seeing if one is a completist, but not a standout.


Angus: Gillie Fenwick

Banquo: William Needles

Doctor: Hedley Mattingly

Donalbain: Raymond Bellew

Duncan: Powys Thomas

First Murderer: Peter Needham

First Witch; Gentlewoman: Victoria Mitchell

Fleance: Rex Hagon

Lady Macbeth: Zoe Caldwell

Lady MacDuff: Sharon Acker

Lennox: Bernard Behrens

Macbeth: Sean Connery

MacDuff’s Son: Peter Tully

MacDuff: Ted Follows

Malcolm: Robin Gammell

Porter: Eric Christmas

Ross: Max Helpmann

Second Murderer: Jay Shannon

Second Witch: Natalia Bulko

Seyton: Larry Zahab

Third Witch: Jacqueline Ivings