Othello (1965)

“It is the cause. It is the cause, my soul. Let me not name it to you, you chaste stars. It is the cause” – Othello

Number of Times Seen – 1 (22 May 2018)

Brief Synopsis – A Moorish General secretly marries the daughter of a nobleman and is convinced by his trusted lieutenant that his wife is having an affair.

My Take on it – This was one of Lawrence Olivier’s famous big screen adaptations of Shakespeare and in my opinion one of the most boring of the lot.

The cast of this film is superb but the story moves along so slowly that it’s so easy to lose interest along the way.

I have never been the biggest fan of Shalespeare’s works and having to listen to these great actors spew his dialogue for nearly three hours was not an easy task.

I’m quite surprised that Olivier chose to use blackface instead of trying to find an actor of color to play the lead especially since the 60’s were a very turbulent time in the states regarding all issues of race.

It seems quite anachronistic seeing this in a film made just 53 years ago.

The themes of the story are quite good and jealousy and revenge are always intriguing ideas that usually help keep things flowing, but here it just doesn’t work well enough.

This is considered one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragic plays, but it was so difficult trying to find some way to connect to the characters and storyline as presented.

Bottom Line – Great cast but the film moves along too slowly to stay interesting.  Never having been a fan of Shakespearean verse, listening to these great actors was not easy for nearly 3 hours. Olivier’s blackface is strange to look at and seems even more anachronistic 53 years after this was made.  The themes of jealousy and revenge helps make this one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies even if I personally had trouble feeling connected to these performances.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia #1 – This is the only Shakespeare film in which all four leading actors (Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Frank Finlay and Joyce Redman) were nominated for Oscars.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia #2 – At 1 hour, 30 minutes, and 43 seconds, Frank Finlay‘s performance in this movie is the longest ever nominated for a supporting acting Oscar. It is not the longest performance in the movie, however, since Laurence Olivier‘s is three minutes longer.

(From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)


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3 thoughts on “Othello (1965)

  1. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1965 |

  2. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actor – Oscars 1965 |

  3. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actress – Oscars 1965 | MovieRob

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