Based on the novel of the same name by Graham Greene, this is a story of a French advocate Chavel who, while imprisoned by the Germans during the occupation, trades his material possessions... See full summary »
Kristin Scott Thomas,
Video production of Shakespeare's stage play about Othello, a Moorish general in Venice deeply in love with his wife Desdemona and, unbeknown to him, deeply hated by his trusted ensign and best friend, Iago, who has death on his mind.
Iago and a comrade-in-arms are outside the Venice home of Desdemona's father, who does not yet know that she has eloped with Othello. Iago confides to his friend -- who had hoped to marry Desdemona -- that he serves Othello to further his own ends. Venice needs Othello to protect its commercial interests in Cyprus where the Turkish fleet is headed. Desdemona insists on going to Cyprus, too. In Cyprus, Iago plots to convince Othello that Desdemona has betrayed him with Cassio. A lot more than political ambition seems to be motivating Iago. Written by
Dale O'Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
James Earl Jones was originally cast as Othello but British Equity refused to issue an acting permit for Jones as they disapproved of an American actor being cast in a British adaptation of a Shakespeare play. See more »
Shortly before stabbing himself Othello bounces the blade of the dagger on the bed and we both hear and see the blade retract. See more »
I saw this together with "Ayurveda," because that film had much of the same notion I expected to see here.
Making an interesting film is a challenge because of the constraints of the medium and the way we corral narratives into genre.
Making a film of Shakespeare is a greater challenge. You cannot deviate too much from the stage conventions that 19th century performers imposed on the plays. The producers would lose their core audience: high school teachers.
This play is particularly challenging because it hits a weak spot in film today: the tension between what actors and directors think is essential in the play (and life). Of all the plays, this one presents the greatest opportunity for the actors to hijack the enterprise at the cost of the valuable sense of the thing.
It's ironic because the main motion in the play's structure is just this idea of how the order of the environment fights the action of willful individuals within.
I think the writer at this stage in his life worked from the outside in, focusing on the forces that are unloosed in the world, then forming images and analogies that finally can map to some story he finds. So far as we know, he never made up his stories, instead appropriated existing ones, bending them to fit his needs. So though schoolkids assiduously write about the "themes" of this, it is instead rooted in something more abstract and powerful.
A good actor, a smart one, will know this and work hard with the director to create not a character but a world that buffets a character. A good actor-director like Welles will have devised some cinematic devices to make this work. Welles used cinematic architecture by this I mean physical walls and spaces in what still seems to be the highest achievement of that approach.
A bad actor, and actor that ONLY knows acting, will jump on these lines and think they have to do with defining a man and his urges. He will ignore how those urges and the complementary ones of those around him, are pulled from afar, deep in celestial machine. He will ignore the very notion of tragedy, the inevitability of the end because of the world, not the man.
Hopkins is a bad actor. The BBC is spineless in its decisions. This is worthless, unless while you are bored you think about the forces in the world that tragically drive this to be the corpse it is.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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