Orson Welles

Othello

Othello

Gloriously cinematic despite its tiny budget, Orson Welles’s Othello is a testament to the filmmaker’s stubborn willingness to pursue his vision to the ends of the earth. Unmatched in his passionate identification with Shakespeare’s imagination, Welles brings his inventive visual approach to this enduring tragedy of jealousy, bigotry, and rage, and also gives a towering performance as the Moor of Venice, alongside Suzanne Cloutier as the innocent Desdemona, and Micheál MacLiammóir as the scheming Iago. Shot over the course of three years in Italy and Morocco and plagued by many logistical problems, this fiercely independent film joins Macbeth and Chimes at Midnight in making the case for Welles as the cinema’s most audacious interpreter of the Bard.

Film Info

  • Orson Welles
  • United States
  • 1952
  • 93 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.37:1
  • English
  • Spine #870

Special Features

  • New, restored 4K digital transfers of two versions of the film, the 1952 European one and the 1955 U.S. and UK one, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 1995 featuring filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles scholar Myron Meisel
  • Filming “Othello,” Welles’s last completed film, a 1979 essay-documentary
  • Return to Glennascaul, a 1953 short film made by actors Micheál MacLiammóir and Hilton Edwards during a hiatus from shooting Othello
  • New interview with Welles biographer Simon Callow
  • Souvenirs d’“Othello,” a 1995 documentary about actor Suzanne Cloutier by François Girard
  • New interview with Welles scholar François Thomas on the two versions
  • New interview with Ayanna Thompson, author of Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America
  • Interview from 2014 with scholar Joseph McBride
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Geoffrey O’Brien

New cover by Sarah Habibi

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored 4K digital transfers of two versions of the film, the 1952 European one and the 1955 U.S. and UK one, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 1995 featuring filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles scholar Myron Meisel
  • Filming “Othello,” Welles’s last completed film, a 1979 essay-documentary
  • Return to Glennascaul, a 1953 short film made by actors Micheál MacLiammóir and Hilton Edwards during a hiatus from shooting Othello
  • New interview with Welles biographer Simon Callow
  • Souvenirs d’“Othello,” a 1995 documentary about actor Suzanne Cloutier by François Girard
  • New interview with Welles scholar François Thomas on the two versions
  • New interview with Ayanna Thompson, author of Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America
  • Interview from 2014 with scholar Joseph McBride
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic Geoffrey O’Brien

New cover by Sarah Habibi

Othello
Cast
Micheál MacLiammóir
Iago
Robert Coote
Roderigo
Orson Welles
Othello
Suzanne Cloutier
Desdemona
Hilton Edwards
Brabantio
Nicholas Bruce
Lodovico
Michael Laurence
Cassio
Fay Compton
Emilia
Doris Dowling
Bianca
Jean Davis
Montano
Credits
Director
Orson Welles
Produced by
Orson Welles
Based on the play by
William Shakespeare
Photography
Anchise Brizzi
Photography
G. R. Aldo
Photography
George Fanto
Editors
John Shepridge
Editors
Jean Sacha
Editors
Renzo Lucidi
Editors
William Morton
Production design
Alexandre Trauner
Costumes
Maria De Matteis
Music
Angelo Francesco Lavagnino
Music
Alberto Barberis

From The Current

Orson Welles Gives Praise to the Bard

Orson Welles Gives Praise to the Bard

In his final completed feature, Orson Welles reflects on making Othello and the enduring eminence of Shakespeare.

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Othello: In Pieces
Othello: In Pieces

The result of a tumultuous production, Orson Welles’s eccentric take on Othello infuses the play with a convulsive rhythm and disorienting sense of abstraction.

By Geoffrey O’Brien

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