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
This film was first telecast 19 August 1948 on New York City's freshly launched WJZ (Channel 7), the first and only station at that time to offer an ongoing series of silent feature films in more or less complete form, shown intermittently for the next twelve months. The Eagle (1925) would be their next offering, Sunday 12 September 1948. See more »
In 2001, Kino International Corp. copyrighted a 79-minute version of this film, with a new piano music score composed and performed by Jon Mirsalis. All written material is in English; Emil Jannings and director Dimitri Buchowetzki are the only original cast and crew listed. See more »
My acting teacher, the late great Hayes Gordon, used to say that no acting was too big, as long as it was filled. In other words, if the emotion was real, an actor could chew the scenery and still create empathy from the audience. I have never seen a better example of this than in this superb silent adaptation of Shakespeare's classic.
Emil Jannings and Werner Krauss, probably the two best German actors of their generation, give HUGE performances as Othello and Iago - but both are completely believable, and utterly compelling, because every emotion is felt, not indicated. As a result, this could be the best of all the film "Othellos".
Strikingly shot, on brilliantly realised sets, the director also makes sure that nothing distracts from the magnificent performances of the actors. Every performance in this film is brilliant - but Jannings and Krauss climb to the pinacle of silent film acting.
See this film, and see two of the greatest actors of all time convey the essence of Shakespeare without uttering a single word!
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