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Othello (1995)

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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 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)

Gross USA:

$2,112,951
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

Director Oliver Parker had previously played Iago himself in repertory theater. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Iago: Pleasure and action make the hours seem short.
See more »

Connections

Version of Bianco contro negro (1913) See more »

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User Reviews

Latest version of the Shakespeare play caters for modern tastes, but is undeniably well made.
27 November 2003 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

Director Oliver Parker wanted to make Othello a more "pacy" story, so he omitted quite a lot of the original text when writing this version for the screen. Luckily, the cuts and alterations that he has made do little damage to the old Shakesperean chestnut. I wouldn't say that any of the tweaks are particularly for the better, but the essence of Shakespeare's tale of envy, jealousy and deceit is so powerful that it would take a bungling fool - an Ed Wood wannabe, for instance - to rob it of its power. The weighty themes shine through as strongly as ever in this latest presentation.

Laurence Fishburne plays the titular character, a renowned Moorish soldier. His courage has impressed young Venetian lady Desdemona (Irene Jacob) and the pair of them secretly marry. However, her father is displeased by this secret ceremony and he warns Othello that if she can deceive her own father then she may one day do the same to him. One of Othello's soldiers, Iago (Kenneth Branagh) fails to get a promotion of rank which he feels he deserves, and to gain revenge he engineers a series of lies and incidents designed to convince Othello that his wife is being disloyal to him by fornicating with another man.

Inevitably, viewers may find themselves comparing this version with other productions. How does it rank alongside the 1952 Orson Welles version and the 1965 Laurence Olivier one? To be honest, it depends upon the viewer. Purists would probably opt for the Olivier offering, since it is only very slightly abridged and contains such strong performances that all four lead actors earned Oscar nominations. Film buffs might go for the Welles version, with its moody b&w lighting and a now-classic murder scene, not to mention the fact that the production history itself is as fascinating as the story. This version will undoubtedly find favour with viewers more inclined towards modern tastes. It has high production values, a sweeping score, accessible delivery of the lines, flashy photography, and "cool" stylistic touches (Fishburne's head tattoo, for instance). Personally, I feel the 1952 Othello will always be the benchmark, but this one is reasonably well made and it compares quite favourably with other versions.


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