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The last completed essay film of Orson Welles, and the last of his features to be released during his lifetime (1979), this wonderfully candid, rarely screened account of the making of his first wholly independent feature offers a perfect introduction to that movie and to Welles's “second” manner of moviemaking that was necessary once he parted company with the studios and mainstream media. Significantly, the only part of Othello we see and hear in its original form is from the opening sequence; everything else—usually shown silently with Welles's narration—involves an intricate reediting of the original material. Whether he's addressing us beside his moviola, delivering new versions of Shakespearean speeches, chatting with his old Irish friends and collaborators Micheal MacLiammoir (his Iago) and Hilton Edwards, or speaking to college students, Welles is at his spellbinding best.

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