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Othello (1995)

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1:45 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Oliver Parker

Writers:

Oliver Parker (adaptation), William Shakespeare (play)
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Laurence Fishburne ... Othello
Irène Jacob ... Desdemona (as Irene Jacob)
Kenneth Branagh ... Iago
Nathaniel Parker ... Cassio
Michael Maloney ... Roderigo
Anna Patrick ... Emilia
Nicholas Farrell ... Montano
Indra Ové ... Bianca (as Indra Ove)
Michael Sheen ... Lodovico
André Oumansky André Oumansky ... Gratiano (as Andre Oumansky)
Philip Locke ... 1st Senator
John Savident ... 2nd Senator
Gabriele Ferzetti ... The Duke of Venice
Pierre Vaneck Pierre Vaneck ... Brabantio
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Storyline

Iago convinces Othello, The Moor of Venice that his wife, Desdemona has been unfaithful. Iago is an evil, manipulative character with his own agenda. A plot of jealousy and rage transpires in this classic Shakespearean tale. Written by Jason Ihle <jrihl@conncoll.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Envy, greed, jealousy and love.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 January 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Otelo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,097, 17 December 1995

Gross USA:

$2,844,379

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,844,379
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first time an African-American was cast in the title role in a movie version of Othello. See more »

Goofs

During Emilia's dying speech, the already dead Desdemona can be seen breathing. See more »

Quotes

Othello: I kissed thee ere I killed thee: no way but this; Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.
See more »

Connections

Version of BBC Sunday-Night Theatre: Othello (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

Simply the best
1 June 2006 | by artwkSee all my reviews

For me, the Lawrence Fishbourne version of "Othello" is the best ever put on film. His performance is excellent, while not overpowering the villainous Iago. And the title role is played by a black man, as it should be, rather than a white man with boot-polish on his face. The film's marginal eroticism has been criticised, but isn't eroticism at the very heart of the story?

Olivier's "Othello" was essentially a film of the stage production, and for me the Orson Welles version was a failure, despite Welles' star performance, because most of the other actors were almost devoid of charisma. How could Desdemona possibly have been interested in a slob like Welles' Cassio?

I have always found the original play unconvincing, for several reasons. Iago's motive, resentment of Cassio's promotion, seems too trivial for the tragedy it precipitates. At risk of committing heresy, I found the Verdi opera more convincing, with the soliloquy by Iago explaining his innate determination to commit evil.

Also, given the closeness of Othello's friendship with Iago, his decision to bypass him in favour of Cassio makes little sense. Likewise, Othello's readiness to believe the worst of Desdemona, and the ease with which Iago leads him on to murder, makes the title character look quite pathetic, almost simple-minded.

In this film, the cutting of the text to the absolute minimum helps to hide the play's inherent faults and tighten the action, and Fishbourne's wordless suffering speaks volumes that more than make up for the loss of Shakespeare's lines. I couldn't help comparing this film with Kenneth Brannagh's "Hamlet", the longest and most tedious of his self-advertisements, in which every long-winded speech was preserved intact. Here Brannagh's Iago is almost as good as Fishbourne's Othello, and he makes the most of the lines he has.

To sum up, ten out of ten. I can only regret that Fishbourne is not offered more roles of this quality.


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