14 NOVEMBER 1970, Page 18



Sir: May I correct some of the shoddier inaccuracies and confu- sions in Tony Palmer's piece about Roman Polanski's forthcoming film of Macbeth?

• First the heading: 'Polanski's Hippie Macbeth'. What does this mean? That Macbeth is to be played as a hippie? Or by a hippie? Mr Palmer knows quite well that neither is the case. One can only suspect that he (or his editor) was making a cheap and rather sicken- ing attempt to link Mr Polanski's film with the murder, allegedly by hippies, of his wife.

Next: Mr Palmer says that 'Polanski wants and has got a screenplay in which . . . soliloquies are cut to a minimum'. Quite false: all the great soliloquies have been retained and internal cutting within them has been minimal, less than in many stage productions of the play. Next: Mr Palmer derisively observes that a party was held to announce who was to play Lady Macbeth before the part had been cast. Wrong again: the party was held to announce the name of the actor chosen for Macbeth. The casting of Lady Macbeth, which was decided shortly afterwards, did not—as Mr Palmer asserts—delay shooting for a week, or even for a day- The first few weeks of filming are devoted' to location sequences for which Lady Macbeth is not required. Of the production in general. Mr Palmer says that it will be 'modernistic in outlook'. If this means (as it might well) that the film is being shot in modern dress or in modern settings, it is utterly untrue.

I have to admit, however, that Mr Palmer's account rubs shoulders with reality on the two occasions when he employs the phrase 'huf- fing and puffing' to describe my demeanour at the press party. I did indeed both huff and puff. I had no alternative. since I suffer from emphysema and had just climbed two flights of stairs. Students of disreputable journalism will note how the writer uses this annoying physical disability, possession of which I cannot deny, to suggest that I behaved in a pompous and over- bearing way.

A fellow buffer and puffer rejects the inference of editorial interfer- ence.—EdirOr, SPECTATOR