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4.1 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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(Aug 14, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product description

The original cast and soul-shattering impact of the play's 1964 staging by the National Theatre of Great Britain are captured on film. As the valiant war hero swept into a maelstrom of jealousy and revenge Olivier won his seventh Academy Award nomination. The movie's Desdemona (Maggie Smith) Emilia (Joyce Redman) and 'honest Iago' (Frank Finlay) also captured Oscar nominations. And the result Bosley Crowther wrote in The New York Times is that 'this Othello is one of the boldest you'll ever see.'System Requirements:Running Time: 166 minsFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA UPC: 085391112105 Manufacturer No: 111210

Laurence Olivier's extravagant performance as the jealous Moor of Venice had its origins on stage at London's National Theatre; this 1965 film is a straight rendering of that production, shot on a soundstage with spare backdrops. However much the resulting artifact can actually be described as a film, one must feel gratitude just for the preservation of Olivier's pinwheeling turn. Yes, it's theatrical: the blackface make-up, the exotic gestures, the rumbly voice. Olivier doesn't connect organically with the character, but builds layer upon layer of effect until reaching critical mass; then his Othello explodes across the stage, keening in rage or flopping in agony. Before being encouraged to doubt his spotless wife Desdemona (Maggie Smith), Olivier's Moor flashes a broad grin that stands as a beacon of his shallow self-confidence; after the coin drops, his body hunches in misery. If Olivier dominates, this film nevertheless presents a marvelous Iago, by Frank Finlay, the evil engineer of the plot. It may just be Finlay's physical and vocal resemblance to comic Peter Cook, but he seems to embody the sarcasm and "sick" humor of the 1960s in his Iago--and his dry style is far more attuned to the movie camera than Olivier's. Olivier, Finlay, and Smith were all nominated for Oscars, as was Joyce Redman, as Iago's hapless lady. For a real shock, and a great lesson in Olivier's chameleon talent, watch Othello and then view the brief promotional film shot during filming, included on the DVD--you'll be astonished that the gray-haired gentleman, near sixty and with clunky eyeglasses, is the same volcanic performer that just erupted for 166 minutes on film. --Robert Horton

Special features

  • Vintage featurette: Olivier Talks About Othello
  • Theatrical trailer

Product details

  • Actors: Laurence Olivier, Frank Finlay, Robert Lang, Anthony Nicholls, Roy Holder
  • Directors: Stuart Burge
  • Writers: William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Anthony Havelock-Allan, John Brabourne, Richard B. Goodwin
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Original recording remastered, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2007
  • Run Time: 165 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000QGE8IS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,123 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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  • Learn more about "Othello" on IMDb

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