Saturday, September 12, 2009

Female Trouble

I saw a Netflix DVD of The Scottish Play tonight. It was made in 1971 by Roman Polanski. It starred Jon Finch and Francesca Annis. They were both too young and slim to be persuasive as a Scottish thane and his thaneatrix. They were also too young and pretty to be persuasive as medieval usurpers.

The sets emphasized verisimilitude. They were what one imagines medieval Scotland looked like, which wasn't too good. The acting by Finch and Annis was OK but not great. I was surprised to see that the executive producer was Hugh Hefner. At first I thought it was somebody else of the same name but it turned out that Playboy Enterprises produced the movie - apparently on the theory that even a soft-core pornographer can buy respectability by paying for Shakespeare. One assumes Francesca Annis had to sleep with Hefner to get the part.

Once again Lady Macbeth proved herself a real chalariya. Duncan, his posterns, Banquo, MacDuff's family, the MacBeths, their hired murderers, and pretty much everybody in Scotland all took it in the shorts. Except for that, a good time was had by all.

Apropos of very little, I recently read a description of Toronto as being a city founded by people who liked Scotland well enough but wanted to go someplace where the people were dourer and more tightfisted.

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