Poetry and Patriotism



BELGIAN FILM ART
'The private view given by the Eclair Film Company, Limited, at the West End Cinema, on the 25th ult., presented many features of more than ordinary interest. Not the least of these was the presence of a number of wounded Belgian soldiers, who appeared to thoroughly enjoy the highly artistic entertainment provided by the management, and showed themselves deeply stirred by the patriotic feelings evoked by the episode in the History of the Independence of Belgium. The occasion made this item of chief importance in the programme, and there can be little doubt that the enthusiasm of King Albert's countrymen will find an echo wherever this film is shown, for in a series of striking pictures we get a clear and concise epitome of the principal events from the first great effort for liberty in 1830 to those which involved Belgium in the struggle in which she has played such a noble part today. [...]
'The national interest was maintained throughout the programme, which included a film version of Maurice Maeterlinck's
"PELLEAS AND MELISANDA"
and an adaptation of "Macbeth", in both of which the great Belgian poet's wife played the principal part.
[...]
'"MACBETH"
seems to offer peculiar attractions to the film producer, and of all Shakespeare's plays has been most frequently adapted to the screen. In this case, again, it is necessary to view it from an entirely different standpoint, and we imagine that it will chiefly appeal to that very large section of the picture-loving public which has no acquaintance with the works of Shakespeare either in the study or on the stage. This version has been condensed to the scope of three reels, and while the chief points of dramatic action have been skilfully retained, the motives concerning the actions of the principal character are of necessity left much to the imagination of the spectator. It is generally supposed that those effects of supernatural agency employed by Shakespeare with such power, and which present such difficulties when attempted on the stage, lend themselves readily to effective treatment by what may be referred to as the deceptive powers of the camera. We have rarely found this to be the case. Irving, by the masterly manipulation of limes and gas battens, could convey more of mystery and horror than the camera can suggest with all its powers of superimposition and double exposure. We must confess that the weird sisters of "Macbeth", in spite of their faculty of appearing suddenly from a puff of smoke and vanishing at will, are but mild representatives of those secret, black and midnight hags, and the first appearance of Banquo's ghost, instead of suggesting the horror of a phantom seen only by the overwrought imagination of Macbeth, can only excite surprise that the rest of the company are unaware of the presence of so material a guest. In a word, this is a version of "Macbeth", the tragedy and the horror of which have been substituted by very beautiful scenery and costumes picturesque in every detail. Madame Maeterlinck is handsome and graceful in a very shadowy version of Lady Macbeth, and a competent company play with Gallic fervour and impetuosity.'

TitlePoetry and Patriotism
Date1916-05-04
Comments
SourceThe Bioscope

Film(s)

Macbeth