Snobs On Film is a monthly movie podcast, exploring one theme per season. This season: love in its strangest forms, across classic and contemporary film.
On this episode of Snobs On Film
Power, Prophecy and Paranoia – ‘The Tragedy Of Macbeth’
In Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, a tale of paranoia begins with a prophecy, and the road from one to the other is littered with treachery, ambition, and the tragic results of a strange love.
Denzel Washington is Macbeth — Shakespeare’s ‘man who would be king’ — and Frances McDormand is Lady Macbeth; the wife who sparks her husband’s lust for power, fanning it into a murderous flame. After Macbeth is told by three witches that he is fated to sit on the throne, Lady Macbeth helps fulfill his destiny by committing an act of betrayal so grim it threatens to drive them both insane. Amidst the ruins of Macbeth’s nobility and honor are the urgent words of his wife, steadily encouraging his doomed ascent; using her affection to sweeten her demands as the couple watches their love devolve into conspiracy. When the film ends, Macbeth’s tragedy is steeped in lingering questions and blood-soaked regret.
But what’s done, is done.
Background listening from Snobs On Film
Last season on Snobs On Film, we explored the theme of redemption in the 1946 film ‘Notorious’, starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. The Hitchcock classic famously features a mother-son relationship geared towards power, but poisoned by paranoia — not unlike Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Enjoy that episode, and our take on the film’s enduring legacy and influence, right here: REDEMPTION: Notorious
- Noirish Nightmare: The Guardian review of ‘The Tragedy Of Macbeth’ (written by Peter Bradshaw)
- Behind-The-Scenes: An interview with the film’s cinematographer, Bruno Delbonnel (written by Adrian Pennington)
- How Joel Coen used German Expressionism to create a Noir world (by Bill Desowitz)
- Kathryn Hunter on her scene-stealing turn as The Three Witches (by Stuart Miller)
- The Criterion on: Notorious – the same hunger (by Angelica Jade Bastién)