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Thursday April 18th 2024

Macbeth | 1971

Macbeth location: Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland
Macbeth location: Macbeth’s ‘Dunsinane Castle’: Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland | Photograph: wikipedia / Michael Hanselmann

Roman Polanski’s brings striking visuals to an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s bloody tragedy, oddly funded by Hugh Hefner and his Playboy empire.

The opening execution of the Thanes is staged on Black Rock Sands, at Morfa Bychan, on the Lleyn Peninsula near Porthmadog in North Wales. An open, wide beach with fine sand, the name comes from an area west of the beach, dominated by a large, multi-coloured headland. Its sand dunes have been declared a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ but, unusually, you can drive onto the beach here – so it’s become a popular spot for motor boats and water bikes (which have their own designated zone).

‘Dunsinane’ is Bamburgh Castle, a hugely imposing fortification sitting on a volcanic outcrop on the coast of Northumberland, about 40 miles north of Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Bamburgh is also used for the long shots of ‘Loudon’ in Ken Russell’s The Devils.

‘Inverness’ is Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island. Built in1570, the Tudor fort was home for 300 years to temporary garrisons of soldiers from the force based at nearby Berwick. Not seeing much in the way of military action, it survived relatively intact until 1901, when it was bought by Edward Hudson, the owner of Country Life magazine, who had it refurbished as a comfy holiday home in the Arts and Crafts style, by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

The island, now managed by the National Trust and accessible from the mainland at low tide by means of a causeway, was previously used by Polanski as the main setting for his 1966 drama Cul-De-Sac.