The general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with one of his officers Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter lieutenant named Iago.
In the inspired Olivier concept, Shakespeare's play begins as a performance in the Globe Theatre, shifting in broad cinematic terms to an epic narrative of Henry V, who had developed from a dissolute youth to a purposeful monarch. Proving his ability as a soldier and skillful leader, he unites the dissident factions in the English army and goes on to crush the French, against enormous odds, at Agincourt. Arranging a treaty with the French court, he woos Princess Katharine to whom he is formally betrothed as part of the peace agreement. Written by
Laurence Olivier agreed not to appear in a film for 18 months to encourage this one to attract as large an audience as possible and in return was paid £15,000 tax-free, about £460,000 in today's money. See more »
O! for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention; a kingdom for a stage, princes to act and monarchs to behold the swelling scene. Then should the war-like Harry, like himself, assume the port of Mars; and at his heels, leashed in like hounds, would famine, word, and fire crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all, the flat unraised spirits that hath dared on this unworthy scaffold to bring forth so great an object: can this cockpit hold the vasty ...
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The main title not only gives the full title of the play as Shakespeare wrote it, but spells the words in the sixteenth-century manner, not in modern spelling. See more »
What an intelligent film!!! I loved its stage-y quality--The good-humored recreation of a performance in Shakespeare's time with the audience so fully engaged, laughing at jokes we don't understand (e.g., the machinations of churchmen). I loved the details and sense of history--the sets inspired by medieval illuminations and the score by William Walton. The tight script and directing bring out the complexity of the play. Unlike other reviewers, I'd rate it higher than Branagh's more visceral, contemporary version though I can see why some might find this one pallid. It doesn't have a modern feel, and this style of acting Shakespeare feels dated to me--I've grown accustomed to naturalism. Overall, I appreciate that it is many-layered and distinctively English. I hope it accomplished its worthy goal of raising morale during the WWII.
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