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Othello Reviews

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John B

Super Reviewer

January 29, 2014
The worst Olivier Shakespearean film that I have seen. Not only is Olivier shockingly displayed in blackface but the portrayal is no Hamlet or Henry V. Even the film's filming locations lack imagination.
April 13, 2013
This version of Shakespeare's famous tragedy is based on a National Theater Company's interpretation. It was shot on a shoestring budget and it features minimalist set pieces and backdrops. The distinguished cast includes Maggie Smith (Desdemona), Robert Land (Roderigo), Dereck Jacobi (Cassio), Joyce Redman (Emilia) and Frank Finlay (A terrific Iago). Othello definitely feels stagey, but the performances are affecting and the story stays true to the Bard's story. It's a perfectly fine film if one can deal with the fact that Laurence Olivier is donning blackface and talking in a guttural accent while playing the title role.
Robyn M.
November 20, 2012
Forced to watch this in class- enjoyed the simplicity and it's authenticity!
April 25, 2012
Straighten this out.....the reviews and picture are for the Olivier movie; the info is for an opera performance.
Bravo to the overlooked and brilliant Frank Finlay, a perfect Iago.
August 11, 2011
Wait, the picture is of the Laurence Olivier Version with Dame Maggie Smith as Desdemona. GET IT RIGHT Rotten Tomatoes!
February 12, 2011
My feelings about this movie are perhaps more mixed than about any other. To give this movie a rating, any rating, feels dishonest and is more than a little confusing for me. The first hour and a half of this movie was so atrocious that I literally grew hoarse from laughter and seriously considered making a compilation of all the absurd little sounds that Olivier made or of the five or six times when poor Bianca was literally dropped or thrown! It was too ridiculous, too insultingly poor, too uninspired to be taken seriously.
Then came the last hour. Maybe it's because I just got used to Olivier prancing about, waving his arms in the air and making noises like Opie from "Family Guy." I can't say for certain when the change happened, but all of a sudden the drama came together in a crashing crescendo of emotions and choked back tears. Maggie Smith's Desdemona is a very real person. Charismatic, kind, sensitive, headstrong. This performance managed, on top of the travesty that was most of the rest of the movie, to evoke my deepest pity and love. The relationship between Desdemona and Emilia was fleshed out, too, and made very real, and both women RICHLY deserved the nominations they received for their work.
And yet, this movie only warrants two stars from me. It's unjust that such wonderful performances should have been wasted on such hokey falderal.
vader_of_vjun
October 28, 2005
Brilliant stuff, highly entertaining, with Olivier's Othello distracting from all else. Finlay's Iago is also excellent. A brilliant film.
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