Othello

USA/Italy/Morocco/France 1952. Dir: Orson Welles. 93 min. DCP

NEW RESTORATION!Orson Welles’s dynamic version of Shakespeare’s tragedy took top prize at Cannes in 1952. Welles himself has the title role; Micheál MacLiammóir is Iago. The film's fitful production schedule — it was shot over several years, in various Moroccan and Italian locales, as the director struggled to raise financing — is the stuff of Wellesian legend. Desdemona had to be recast several times; the role ultimately went to Canadian Suzanne Cloutier. Rendered in bold Expressionist style, Othello is both bravura Orson Welles and superb cinematic Shakespeare. “Crowned in glory ... Othello doesn’t rank below Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, but alongside them” (Vincent Canby, New York Times).


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REVIEWS

"The paradox of Orson Welles’s version is that from unfaithfulness springs truth; Shakespeare is subjected not to a decorous homage but to an enraptured wrestle."

New Yorker | full review

"Rush out to see Othello and marvel at everything Welles brought to it."

Jonathan Rosenbaum | full review

"This is Shakespeare filmed with love and powerhouse enthusiasm, never with reverence."

Time Out | full review