Picks and Pans Review: The Shakespeare Plays: Macbeth

updated 10/17/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/17/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

PBS (9-11:30 p.m. ET)

From a 17th-century musical version to a 1957 Japanese film (Throne of Blood), Macbeth has inspired multifarious interpretations. Roman Polanski's 1971 film had Lady Macbeth sleepwalking in the nude. This splendid British-American production is the Bard à la Hitchcock, bubbling over with suspense and terror. Nicol (Excalibur) Williamson plays up the perverted ambition of Macbeth, who murders for power. Jane (Piaf) Lapotaire is a good match for Williamson as the scheming Lady Macbeth, who cannot wash away her guilt. Instead of special-effects witches and ghosts, we are exposed to violence as graphic as in Psycho. The murderous strike against Macduff's castle is particularly vivid. Yet, despite the bloody brew, Williamson never loses the beauty of Shakespeare's poetry. A promising debut for the sixth season of The Shakespeare Plays for public TV.


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