I dismissed it as one of those things that I would never get the chance to see unless someone who was a much bigger movie nerd than I had a recorded copy on VHS or something.
Well, recently I stumbled across a collection of old movies on DVD while I was at a Ross department store. (And when I say "stumbled," I mean it. Why does that store always look like it's been hit by a tornado?) These films are usually ones that have fallen into public domain, but are not necessarily bad films at all. In fact, this collection contained Of Human Bondage (1932), which, if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend. Anyway, this collection also contained the elusive 1961 MacBeth starring a bearded Sean Connery as - if the packaging was to be trusted - Mackers himself. So, for a couple of dollars I had solved my dilemma of some years ago. There, in my hand, was the film I had resigned to obscurity.
|I really have no idea what I'm doing.|
Well, I am happy to report that Connery was more than up to the task. His approach is unexpected at times and even a bit jarring at points, but ultimately satisfying. During the dagger speech, I was baffled at first, but soon realized that he was approaching it very naturalistically, and I think it added another dimension to the scene. I found myself thinking that many of the elements that make Connery such a great action hero added to his performance as Mackers. Connery is a man of great passion and charisma and his heroes are led more by their hearts than their intellect. Let's face it, Bond wasn't exactly a planner. He usually got caught by the bad guy at some point, he seldom used the high-tech gadgetry as it was intended, and women in bikinis are his Achilles, um, heel. Also, James Bond is incredibly lucky. That's what makes Bond so much fun. The bad guys are smarter and more organized, but 007 still always manages to somehow get the better of them. So, portraying a man whose ambitions exceed his machinations winds up being near-perfect casting for Connery. Also, it's fun to hear those lines spoken in a true Scottish brogue.
But not stirred.
I think the real treat here, however, is not even Connery's performance. It is the rare filmed performance of the legendary stage actress Zoe Caldwell as Lady MacBeth. The four-time Tony-award-winning actress has a long and varied career, but has made very few appearances on the silver screen, and she does not disappoint as the conniving Queen-to-be.