Men Of Respect

I’ve never seen Joe Macbeth, a 1955 British attempt to adapt the plot of Shakespeare’s Macbeth to a 30s gangster milieu, but I doubt it could be any more heavy-handed and forced than this contemporary New York Mafia melodrama, written and directed by William Reilly, which adopts the same gimmick. The results are full of sound and fury, but not much else. Lots of thunderstorms, abrasive sound effects and music throbbing with vibrato, underlit night scenes, very silly dialogue (Not a man of woman born can do shit to me), and overall portentousness can’t hide the fact that Shakespeare without his language isn’t really Shakespeare, and some strained efforts on the part of John Turturro (in the Macbeth part) to make sense of it all don’t help. With Katherine Borowitz, Dennis Farina, Peter Boyle, Stanley Tucci, Julie Garfield, Lilia Skala, Steven Wright, and a cameo by Rod Steiger. (JR)

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