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Othello (1951)

The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice (original title)
The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.

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On TV

Airs Sat. Jan. 21, 6:30 AM on TCM

ON DISC
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Robert Coote ...
...
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Nicholas Bruce ...
Michael Laurence ...
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Storyline

Desdemona, daughter of a Venetian aristocrat, elopes with Moorish military hero Othello, to the great resentment of Othello's envious underling Iago. Alas, Iago knows Othello's weakness, and with chilling malice works on him with but too good effect... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Orson Welles' magnificent screening of Shakespeare's immortal tragedy See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

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Details

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Release Date:

12 September 1955 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Othello  »

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Technical Specs

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| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(re-release)| (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To pay the bills on this film, which took three years to make, Orson Welles took supporting roles in several films, one of which was The Black Rose (1950). During the filming of this, he greatly annoyed director Henry Hathaway by borrowing various costumes and cameras for use on "Othello". Hathaway complained to his boss Darryl F. Zanuck about this, but the latter, a friend of Welles', just laughed it off. Hathaway was still complaining in interviews in the 1970s. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: There was once in Venice a moor, Othello, who for his merits is the affairs of war was held in great esteem. It happened that he fell in love with a young and noble lady called Desdemona, who drawn by his virtue became equally enamoured of Othello...
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Connections

Version of Encounter: Othello (1953) See more »

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User Reviews

powerful, compact version
17 August 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Orson Welles' short, low-budget, and in places fairly odd look at Shakespeare's play. It suffers from some stage-bound performances which don't quite work (Micheal MacLiammoir as Iago, Robert Coote as Rodrigo) plus an undefined Desdemona from Suzanne Cloutier.

However, this aside, Welles is marvellous as the Moor driven to jealousy and murder, his voice rolling through the meat of Othello's speeches, his bronze make-up creating a skin for the great general. For this performance alone the film is valuable. And it looks absolutely fantastic, springing off from its financial limitations and adding a new dimension to the often-told story.


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