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Othello (1952)
Starring: Suzanne Cloutier, Robert Coote, Michael MacLiammoir, Orson Welles
Director: Orson Welles
Category: Drama
Studio: Image Ent.
91 mins



Orson Welles, one of the greatest American filmmakers, revered Shakespeare's works and was determined to bring his own vision to the Bard's classics on screen, though the Hollywood studios resisted the idea. His Othello (1952) was a daring and visually adventurous production distinguished by dynamic editing, flashy camera work and dramatic visual compositions, recalling Welles' classic Citizen Kane more than the typical "stagy" Shakespearean films of the time. Welles also starred in the title role as the hot-tempered Moor who is consumed with jealousy when his devious underling, Iago, leads him to believe that his wife, Desdemona, is unfaithful.
Lack of studio financing meant that Welles himself had to struggle over three-year period to raise funds for the film. Because of the financial shortfall, he often was forced to improvise during production, following his dead-on artistic instincts and actually producing a more creative film. OTHELLO was a triumph, winning the Grand Prize of the Cannes Film Festival and critical raves. Vincent Canby of The New York Times called it "one of the screen's sublime achievements," and Judith Crist described it as "a masterwork in the finest sense."
Thought lost to ravages of time, the film has undergone more than $1 million in restoration work after long-mislaid 35mm master negative was found in a New Jersey warehouse. Supervised by Welles' daughter, Beatrice Welles-Smith, restoration included the re-recording of the score and re-creation of the sound effects. Looking and soundingbetter than it originally did, OTHELLO remains a powerful testament to Welles' legendary genius.


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