- Orson Welles
- Orson Welles Micheál MacLiammóir, Robert Coote
You’ve never seen cinematic Shakespeare until you’ve seen it performed under the baton of Orson Welles. In the case of Othello, there is formidable competition, notably Oliver Parker’s 1995 adaptation, starring Laurence Fishburne as the ill-fated moor, and of course Stuart Burge’s 1965 classic with the other Laurence: Sir Olivier. The story of a general betrayed by his self-serving lieutenant is one of the great tragedies of the stage, but in front of Welles’s camera it takes on a life all its own. This is due in part to the stunning cinematography, which thanks to a recent restoration can now be appreciated for the first time in its original glory. The film was stalled multiple times throughout its three-year production, and required the gumption of Welles, who used his own earnings from The Third Man and other more popular projects to finance it, to see the light of day. Given the sad fate of Welles himself, it’s especially poignant to read his downward spiral into every frame of this masterful achievement.
Awarded the Grand Prix at the 1952 Cannes Film Festival.