Saturday, May 16, 2009

The BBC's Dagger Speech

Macbeth. Dir. Jack Gold. Perf. Nicol Williamson and Jane Lapotaire. 1983. DVD. Ambrose, 2001.

Two more direct versions of Macbeth (the next less direct than this) need to be addressed before we can move on to additional derivative versions. The first is the BBC's relatively conservative production.

The BBC's Complete Shakespeare gets mocked fairly often in Shakespeare and film circles—and some productions deserve that mockery. One has only to think of John Cleese—otherwise brilliant—as Petruchio to understand that. However, this production is less deserving of mockery than others. For one thing, its Lady Macbeth is really stunning—particularly in the "Come, you spirits" speech.

Their Macbeth is also interesting. In this dagger speech, we once again have an absent dagger—but, this time, Macbeth sees what isn't there by looking directly as us! Brrrr! Chilling. This Macbeth also seems eager to clutch the dagger, rather than scared (as in other productions). And there's more to say, but I'm dashing off. Enjoy!

Links: The Film at IMDB.

Click below to purchase the film from
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).


No comments:

Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest