Oddly, Welles' Othello reminds me of a Black and White graphic novel (a delightful one), with lots of terrific POV angles using bold pen and ink illustrations of dark cavernous castle passages and noirish keylights with blue-black shadows, all the while incorporating a toned-down Elizabethan language in bite-size cartouches over the
This is at times breathtakingly good. However its frenetic pace, which is a product of its patchwork method of shooting, does at times bewilder the viewer. I can't imagine a viewer who wasn't already very familiar with the play understanding much of what goes on. That said Welles makes for a wonderful Othello, by far my favourite interpretation of the role. And there are moments of pure gold throughout.
I watched the 1992 restored version released by Welles daughter. I loved it. But I hope to see the original version one day and compare the two, Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote about how the new version is inferior to the original in so many ways. Still, highly recommended masterpiece that shows Welles talent for adapting Shakespeare's plays to the big screen.
This isn't exactly Shakespeare, but it may be the best film ever derived from his work: a disorienting, phantasmagoric staging of Othello sped up to such a pace (and done with such a grim, beautiful eye for chaos) that nearly every shot can send your mind reeling. The result is the only Shakespeare adaptation that runs the risk of giving you a panic attack.