Only Orson Welles could pull of playing Othello in black face but he pulls it off in a way that is graceful and not offensive. Welles also continues to push the boundaries of cinema and how the Bard's words should be translated and proves yet again that Welles was far superior to Olivier when it came to adapting Shakespeare.
This is the first of the Welles Shakespeare's I've seen as part of this big rewatch, and even with the famous money problems the overall look and mise-en-scene are probably what I like most and remember most about it, but it also seems sort of restrained in a way you wouldn't imagine Shakespeare-Welles to be. It may just be me, I don't know.
I don't like Welles's interpretation in this film. It is a "theatrical" representation more than a tragedy shown in cinenemategraphical language, seems fake and in a closed environment. There is a beautiful use of images in almost the movie, some of real impact, and they represent a vehicle for the storytelling. But none of these beautiful images are original if we bear in mind the first historical/epic movies.
I felt that the beginning of the film was rushed, to the point that it damaged the carachter's development. Iago was just a viper who injected his poison without no apparent reason. And Desdemona only had a physical presence because a personality was not to be found in her. Also, didn't like at all Welles acting. At least the cinematography was great.
The resplendent 2013 National Theatre version of 'Othello' Rory Kinnear as the Machiavellian Iago, and Adrian Lester as the tragic Othello, have spoiled all other versions of one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. This being said, Orson just about surpasses Branagh and Olivier as a Shakespearean auteur with this one - 3.5
Disappointed. Orson Welles playing the Moor Othello? No. Absolutely, assuredly, positively a poor decision to star and direct. Aside, the balance on light and shadow is excellent in this one. Micheál MacLiammóir as Iago seems the only actor trained to handle the duality of his character, while Welles is hopelessly plain, reading his lines like a grocery list. And the spastic editing? We need room to breathe, Orson.
Visually stunning and unforgettable. However, I feel the pace is wrong. There's no time for anyone to soak up the emotions. Perhaps that's the feeling of the source material but my thought when Welles says at the end to not think of him as "easily jealous" that the film creates that very notion. I didn't feel the actions well founded or motivated while trying to look objectively at the film.
Although the use of old English and great cinematographic skill, Welles' film could not have been more inappropriate for a Shakespeare adaptation. I disliked as well the slightly desynchronization in the audio, which is indeed noticeable if the language used by the characters is also a problem. Last, some dramatic parts of the film are acted out very poorly.