Othello - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Othello Reviews

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October 10, 2015
It's a fine Shakespeare adaptation that might feel too stagey for the screen but the actors elevate it. Looking through 2015 eyes, it was hard to take Lawrence Olivier seriously in head to toe really poorly done black face that just made the movie seem like a joke but what of Olivier is under that make up shines out of it. Maggie Smith and Joyce Redman steal the show and some of the men are great as well. The costumes are excellent and the production design is great but the story is kind of boring
½ February 21, 2014
well mounted version of this shakespeare play
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.
½ December 5, 2012
A dark, brooding masterpiece--Excellent Performances!!
½ 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.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2011
This is not the Laurence Olivier version.
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.
½ July 31, 2010
Olivier hams it up in blackface. Ewwwww. Frank Finlay has a great Iago, but it will never touch the brilliance of Bob Hoskins' Iago from the BBC version. Olivier should be truly ashamed about his performance in this Shakespearean masterpiece.
½ October 23, 2009
Whether taken as a cultural relic or the definitive screen treatment, Othello demands to be seen for Olivier's bravura, high-wire performance.
September 10, 2009
Very tragic ! A magnification of the worst of all human qualities. Among a lot of things that Othello teaches us, I assume that it is suspicion (Othello) that is stated to be the worst of all human qualities, over jealousy, hatred and deception (Iago) all put together.
½ August 15, 2009
Bad Shakespeare adapt.
½ August 12, 2009
Even though it's long, has like 2 sparse sets, and Laurence Olivier still looks strange in all that makeup, this is still powerful Of course it is, you have the Royal Shakespeare Company performing it for crying out loud. Olivier and Maggie Smith are great, but make no doubt about it, Frank Finlay as Iago steals the show, and well he should be, since ir is the main character after all. This is lushly photographed and well directed, and pretty much a lock if you're studyin' da Bard.
Super Reviewer
½ January 27, 2009
If you can't recognize Olivier, he's the one in black face.
October 12, 2008
not so impressed.. poor black/white contrast..
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2008
Super Reviewer
August 27, 2008
nominated for best foreign film at the golden globes
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