Tuesday, June 21, 2005

welles the moor [june 20, 2005]

The restored remastered DVD edition of The Tragedy of Othello: the Moor of Venice only serves to reaffirm the genius of Orson Welles. The restoration makes the film look almost as new as today. Plaudits to BWE. The only quibble I have is that the DVD has no subtitles. But then, it was a good excuse to sit with a text of the original play and follow the fruits of two brilliant minds at work (Shakespeare and Welles, in case you were wondering). The story of the film's making is reasonably well documented. This was one of the projects that Welles made in bits and pieces, shooting in Italy and Morocco over a period of a few years, also managing to feature in a couple of other films while trying to get this done. The film is filled with enough great visuals and angles to make your week. Or month even. Cinematographically the labrynthine vibe echoes the brilliance of the frames in Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible, Part I. Shakespeare purists may not appreciate the liberties that Welles takes with the source material, but the staging of Roderigo's murder in a Turkish bath (necessitated by circumstance) is a stroke of genius. The soundtrack boasts a gothically creepy piano motif and an array of instruments as diverse as north african flutes and tambourines. If only Welles had received his due while he was still alive ...

A transcription of Filming Othello thanks to the awesome Wayback Engine.

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