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Bloody hands and ironed shirts

This is what you get if you watch the DVD “Critical Guide to Macbeth and King Lear” – great stuff! There are good excerpts from a movie where the actors use lovely Scottish accents; unfortunately we aren’t provided with the actors’ names for the “Macbeth” half (no, it’s not the Polanski, nor the one with Ian McKellen as Macbeth) – or this is what I thought. Then I remembered that the host of the programme mentions that he played the role of Banquo in the movie, and his name is Graham McTavish. So with the help of Google and the IMDB I found out that it’s a movie from 1997 (dir. Jeremy Freeston), with Sean Connery’s son Jason Connery in the role of Macbeth and Helen Baxendale as Lady Macbeth. The movie as a whole seems to have reaped less than flattering reviews, but the clips chosen here serve their purpose very well.
In between the excerpts from the drama, very cultivated literary scientists talk about the interpretation of the play, in a pleasant conversational tone, but not flippantly. So there are surprising contrasts then between Macbeth’s bloody hands and the shirt and tie of Professor Stanley Wells, sitting in front of his bookshelves.
Both “critical guides” are approx. 30 minutes each, so they are short enough to put into a lesson, with enough time to discuss the contents. If the class has problems following the speakers (no subtitles available!), the guide can be played track by track (five tracks per play).

Sweet (or strange) detail: At the end of both the “Macbeth” and the “King Lear” parts, the producer’s logo is shown, in both instances followed by a famous motto. First:

Cromwell Productions Ltd.
Ad majorum gloriam dei

and then:

Cromwell Productions Ltd.
Ad majoram gloriam dei

(In case Latin’s not one of your strong points, the correct ending for “major” would have been “-em”, so they got it wrong twice. And Wikipedia can tell you more of the motto’s origin.). :-)

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