Based on Shakespeare's play: As Venice welcomes their victorious general, Othello the Moor, back to the city, some of them are waiting for Othello to choose his new lieutenant, while others are busy courting the popular Desdemona, the daughter of a Senator. Othello chooses the loyal Cassio as his lieutenant, arousing bitter jealousy in Iago, another soldier, who vows to scheme against his general. That same night, Othello elopes with Desdemona. Othello is soon sent to Cyprus to repel a Turkish invasion, and he arranges for Iago and his wife to bring Desdemona with them to Cyprus. When Iago's wife learns of a treasured handkerchief that Othello gave to Desdemona, this provides Iago with an idea that he hopes will destroy Othello by provoking him to jealousy. Written by
"German expressionism" is not so much in the film as it is as on the faces of Emil Jannings (Othello) and Werner Krauss (Iago), in this silent version of "Othello". The production is nicely staged, with everyone finding their marks. Its costumes and sets are very well designed. The adaptation is faithful enough to Shakespeare's envious storyline. But, watching two overly grand old actors is the film's main calling card, presently. Mugging uproariously in a fat-clinging black outfit, Mr. Krauss renders darkly-skinned Mr. Jannings positively subtle, in comparison. The most sensual scene has Krauss delivering Jannings' handkerchief while arranging the pillows for his head.
***** Othello (2/22) Dimitri Buchowetzki ~ Emil Jannings, Werner Krauss, Ica von Lenkeffy
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