Jan. 4 — Movies based on actual events are and have been big business for the movie industry for decades, and now Lightyear Entertainment will release a new movie based on a key period in Orson Welles’ life later this month.
Voodoo Macbeth is scheduled for release Jan. 17 through Lightyear Entertainment. The movie focuses on Welles’ work with the Harlem Negro Theater Unit on its 1936 presentation of Shakespeare’s timeless drama, Macbeth. The group’s rendition of the play moved the setting from Scotland to Haiti and used Caribbean voodoo in place of witchcraft used in the original play.
The group’s performance of the play was not without controversy. Politicians called the play subversive. Residents of Harlem called the play exploitative and protested the play. Despite the controversy that swirled around it, the play ended up being successful, playing for 10 weeks at the Lafayette Theater before touring nationwide.
Welles was quoted in a 1982 interview as saying of his work with the troupe, “By all odds, my great success in my life was that play, because the opening night there were five blocks in which all traffic was stopped. You couldn’t get near the theater in Harlem. Everybody who was anybody in the black or white world was there, and the play ended there were so many curtain calls that they finally left the curtain open, and the audience came up on the stage to congratulate the actors. That was magical.”
A feature-length audio commentary with cast members Jewell Wilson Bridges and Inger Tudor, producers Miles Alva and Jason Phillips, script writer Erica Sutherlin, and director Zoe Salnave serves as the movie’s primary bonus content. Actual 1936 footage of the original play from the National Archives and Records Administration is also included as a bonus.
Voodoo Macbeth will release on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital platforms. Its run time is 108 minutes (one hour 48 minutes). The movie will retail for msrp of $24.95 on Blu-ray, $19.95 on DVD, and $12.95 on digital platforms. A trailer for the movie is streaming here.
More information on this and other titles from Lightyear Entertainment is available at: