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.
Essay film shot for TV including Orson Welles reflections on Othello close to the Moviola, a chat with Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir and fragments of a conversation with the audience in Boston after a screening of the film.
These anthology shows, like Alfred Hitchcock presents, Twilight Zone, the Outer Limits, and so on, are always about the stories told, and not so often about how you tell them. Orson Welles' attempt at such a show, shows a heavy involvement from his side into the production. He appears not only in the beginning and end, like Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling, but throughout the episode. He's the narrator that's not only keeping the story together, but literally telling it to you. It's almost like a radio play, in that sense. He experiments by showing photos in some parts of the story, and actual scenes in other. This lets him easily (and perhaps more importantly, cheaply) create a story that takes place in different locations and over a span of time.
But how well does it work? Well enough! Despite all that can be said about style, these are still not better than their stories (and often: twists). The story in this one could just as well has appeared in both Twilight Zone and Hitchcock presents. It's not a bad story, if a bit predictable, but nothing you could imagine Welles making a feature film of or anything in that sense.
I quite enjoyed it, and I'm sure most people will. Perhaps it was just as well Welles did not get to make more of these, or perhaps we lost out on what could have been.
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