Othello | Chicago Reader

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Rated NR · 92 minutes · 1952

For all the liberties taken with the play, Orson Welles's 1952 independent feature may well be the greatest Shakespeare film (Welles's later Chimes at Midnight is the only other contender)—a brooding expressionist dream made in eerie Moorish locations over nearly three years, yet held together by a remarkably cohesive style and atmosphere. (The film looks better than ever in its 1992 restored version, though it sounds quite different thanks to the restorers' debatable decision to redo the brilliant score and sound effects in stereo, altering them considerably in the process.) The most impressive performance here is Micheal MacLiammoir's Iago; Welles's own underplaying of the title role meshes well with the somnambulistic mood, but apart from some magnificent line readings he makes less of a dramatic impression. With Suzanne Cloutier (as Desdemona), Robert Coote, Fay Compton, Doris Dowling, and Michael Laurence.
Director: Orson Welles
Producer: Orson Welles
Cast: Orson Welles, Micheal MacLiammoir, Suzanne Cloutier, Robert Coote, Hilton Edwards, Michael Lawrence, Fay Compton, Nicholas Bruce, Jean Davis, Joan Fontaine and Joseph Cotten

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