Movie Poster of the Week: Orson Welles’ “Othello” and Shakespeare on Film

Above: US 2014 re-release poster for Othello (Orson Welles, Morocco/Italy, 1952) designed by Dark Star, Paris.

Orson Welles' glorious, noirish, idiosyncratic, benighted Othello opens in New York and Chicago today in a new restoration. And Wednesday, not coincidentally, saw the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth. Shakespeare has been adapted for film since the silent dawn of cinema, so it seems only right and fitting that I should mark this occasion with the best posters for Shakespeare on film through the ages, presented here in chronological order. 

Above: German poster for Hamlet (Svend Gade & Heinz Schall, Germany, 1921).

Above: US one sheet for The Taming of the Shrew (Sam Taylor, USA, 1929).

Above: US lobby card for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Dieterle & Max Reinhardt, USA, 1935).

Above: 1956 Polish poster for Henry V (Laurence Olivier, UK, 1944) by Jozef Mroszczak.

 Above: Australian poster for Henry V (Laurence Olivier, UK, 1944).

Above: French poster for Hamlet (Laurence Olivier, UK, 1948) by Guy Gerard Noël.

Above: Japanese poster for Hamlet (Laurence Olivier, UK, 1948).

 Above: 1960 German poster for Hamlet (Laurence Olivier, UK, 1948) by Wolfgang Schmidt.

 Above: French grande for Macbeth (Orson Welles, USA, 1948) by Gus Anton.

Above: US one sheet for Macbeth (Orson Welles, USA, 1948).

Above: 1955 German poster for Othello (Orson Welles, Morocco/Italy, 1952) by Lier.

Above: Italian poster for Othello (Orson Welles, Morocco/Italy, 1952) by Enzo Nistri.

Above: Polish poster for Othello (Orson Welles, Morocco/Italy, 1952) by Jozef Mroszczak .

Above: UK poster for Romeo and Juliet (Renato Castellani, Italy/UK, 1954).

Above: Danish poster for Romeo and Juliet (Renato Castellani, Italy/UK, 1954) by Wenzel.

Above: East German poster for Romeo and Juliet (Renato Castellani, Italy/UK, 1954).

Above: Italian poster for Romeo and Juliet (Renato Castellani, Italy/UK, 1954) by Anselmo Ballester.

Above: French grande for Richard III (Laurence Olivier, UK, 1955) by Roger Soubie.

Above: alternative French grande for Richard III (Laurence Olivier, UK, 1955) by Roger Soubie.

Above: German poster for Richard III (Laurence Olivier, UK, 1955).

Above: Polish poster for Romeo and Juliet (Lev Arnshtam & Leonid Lavrovsky, USSR, 1955) by Adam Bowbelski.

Above: Soviet poster for Othello (Sergei Yutkevich, USSR, 1955).

Above: alternative Soviet poster for Othello (Sergei Yutkevich, USSR, 1955).

Above: Czech poster for Hamlet (Grigori Kozintsev, USSR, 1964) by Břetislav Šebek.

Above: US poster for Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles, France/Spain, 1965).

Above: US one sheet for Othello (Stuart Burge, UK, 1965).

Above: US one sheet for The Taming of the Shrew (Franco Zeffirelli, Italy/USA, 1967).

Above: Italian 4-foglio for The Taming of the Shrew (Franco Zeffirelli, Italy/USA, 1967) by Ercole Brini.

Above: 1971 Polish poster for The Taming of the Shrew (Franco Zeffirelli, Italy/USA, 1967) by Waldemar Swierzy.

Above: US one sheet for Romeo and Juliet (Franco Zeffirelli, UK/Italy, 1968).

Above: Japanese poster for Romeo and Juliet (Franco Zeffirelli, UK/Italy, 1968).

Above: US one sheet for Julius Ceasar (Stuart Burge, UK, 1970).

Above: Soviet export poster for King Lear (Grigori Kozintsev, USSR, 1971).

Above: French grande for Macbeth (Roman Polanski, UK/USA, 1971).

Above: Czech poster for Otello (Franco Zeffirelli, Italy, 1986) by Jan Weber.

Above: UK poster for King Lear (Jean-Luc Godard, France/USA, 1987) by Gerald Scarfe.

Posters courtesy of Heritage Auctions, Kino Art and Posteritati (many thanks to Stan Oh). Thanks also to Amélie Garin-Davet at Carlotta Films.

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