870 Othello

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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John Shade
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Re: 870 Othello

#51 Post by John Shade » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:51 pm

ando wrote:That's interesting. Did you show this Welles version to your class? If I ever had to teach it I would go for the 1965 Laurence Olivier version just give students a sense of Othello as a play, which includes the stage conventions (dress, Brits approach to the text, exceptional actors (Jacobi, Maggie Smith, Olivier - to name a few) and, yes, the horrible (imo) blackface) and sense of structure. Welles' film relies so much on film techniques to tell the story that Shakespeare's accomplishment as a poet, not merely a good storyteller (borrowed as it was), might be overlooked in Welles' treatment.

I think his Chimes at Midnight is a marked improvement in terms of featuring Shakespeare's text to its advantage - although with that film an adroit handling of Shakespeare's text culled from several plays was of necessity.
I watched the Welles version for myself, since I had never seen it. I ended up showing them Welles' take on one of Othello's early speeches, I think his explanation of wooing Desdemona, which sticks to the text. Didn't show anything other than that. And I avoided the Olivier version for other reasons.

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Re: 870 Othello

#52 Post by criterion10 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:56 pm

Drucker wrote:
criterion10 wrote:Including both cuts of this is indeed fantastic. Am I correct in assuming that the recent 2K restoration of the 1992 Beatrice Welles-approved version is largely looked down upon, and thus inconsequential to include?
And this is the one on the Carlotta release, correct?
Correct.

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ando
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Re: 870 Othello

#53 Post by ando » Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:20 pm

colinr0380 wrote:That's really one of the reasons I wanted to go through all the BBC Shakespeare productions, in order to get that kind of grounding in the fundamentals of each play.
Indeed, bless you. Did you make it through all 37?

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Drucker
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Re: 870 Othello

#54 Post by Drucker » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:52 pm

criterion10 wrote:Including both cuts of this is indeed fantastic. Am I correct in assuming that the recent 2K restoration of the 1992 Beatrice Welles-approved version is largely looked down upon, and thus inconsequential to include?
The biggest problem people have with it is the stereo music soundtrack, which obviously wouldn't have existed in 1952.

The 1992 version is the only one I've seen and I admit it's probably my least favorite Welles, so I'm hoping these other versions bring something new for me.

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Re: 870 Othello

#55 Post by teddyleevin » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:26 am

ando wrote:If I ever had to teach it I would go for the 1965 Laurence Olivier version
Well.... surely that's not the right link...

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ando
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Re: 870 Othello

#56 Post by ando » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:32 am

[Pondering the url possibilities :lol: ] Fixed. Sorry bout that.

Well, now I gotta watch Ol Larry do his black thing. :D

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colinr0380
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Re: 870 Othello

#57 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:15 am

ando wrote:
colinr0380 wrote:That's really one of the reasons I wanted to go through all the BBC Shakespeare productions, in order to get that kind of grounding in the fundamentals of each play.
Indeed, bless you. Did you make it through all 37?
Not as yet. Love's Labour's Lost is causing me surprising trouble. But there's just that and Titus Andronicus to go.

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Sloper
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Re: 870 Othello

#58 Post by Sloper » Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:26 am

Colin, those are two of the best BBC productions in my opinion - Moshinsky's LLL is a bit slow and odd (and it's a weird play to begin with), but beautifully filmed. And Jane Howell's Titus is a delight, much better than the Taymor film, and clearly quite a big influence on it.

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Roger Ryan
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Re: 870 Othello

#59 Post by Roger Ryan » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:27 am

The surprising news here is that the 1992 restoration does not appear to be included, especially since that is the version that has been playing on Filmstruck (not to mention TCM and theatrically over the past couple of years to capitalize on the centennial Welles celebrations). The 1992 restoration was based on the 1955 U.S. release but the restorers were working with compromised sound elements and ended up completely re-recording the score as noted above (in stereo initially although the soundtrack has been folded down to mono for recent screenings/showings).

I'm thrilled that the original 1952 "European" version is the one given prominence here. Not only does it feature additional footage during the opening Venice sequence (better pacing than in the 1955/1992 versions), but the soundtrack is superior with a richer sound/music mix and better voice synchronization (compared with the 1992 restoration anyway).

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Re: 870 Othello

#60 Post by albucat » Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:50 am

The release promises to be great. I think the only disappointment is that Filming Othello is nowhere to be found. This isn't a huge surprise, but the fact that it will continue to be available only sporadically via terrible transfers on youtube is still crappy.

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Re: 870 Othello

#61 Post by Fortisquince » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:31 am

I agree that Criterion's release of Othello looks great, but I am also disappointed that Filming Othello won't be included. Could someone explain the reasons why it might not be included? Rights issues? I'm a Welles enthusiast and find that even my cinephile friends sometimes have issues with taking him seriously as a filmmaker. I think that Filming Othello is a nice corrective to the Welles-as-fat-blowhard mythology that some people are so invested in. I love to see Orson geeking out about the nuts and bolts of filmmaking in Filming Othello.

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Max von Mayerling
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Re: 870 Othello

#62 Post by Max von Mayerling » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:52 am

I have no inside knowledge about any of this, but certainly rights and/or elements could both be issues. I have seen a couple of sources that say that Oja Kodar controls the rights (which makes sense given when it was made). She has worked with Criterion in the past, but that, of course, doesn't mean that she is willing to do so here. And, of course, we don't really know anything about the condition of the elements and whether that presents difficulties. But, as has been noted, the features list "more!" and there are going to be 2 blu ray discs (so plenty of space?) - so maybe there is still hope.

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Drucker
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Re: 870 Othello

#63 Post by Drucker » Thu Feb 16, 2017 12:03 pm

It seems like Kodar has taken over for Beatrice Welles to be the person making it hard to see Welles films.

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Max von Mayerling
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Re: 870 Othello

#64 Post by Max von Mayerling » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:48 pm

But we don't really know if that is the case or not. We don't know for certain that she is the rights holder (although it seems likely). And it may be that it is an issue involving finding suitable elements. Or maybe it is something else entirely.

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Drucker
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Re: 870 Othello

#65 Post by Drucker » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:52 pm

My comment was more based on her recent actions on Other Side Of the Wind, the recent problems with which are definitely her fault.

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domino harvey
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Re: 870 Othello

#66 Post by domino harvey » Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:52 pm

For Kodar we can rule out "Too busy designing handbags" at least

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zedz
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Re: 870 Othello

#67 Post by zedz » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:16 pm

Max von Mayerling wrote:I have no inside knowledge about any of this, but certainly rights and/or elements could both be issues. I have seen a couple of sources that say that Oja Kodar controls the rights (which makes sense given when it was made). She has worked with Criterion in the past, but that, of course, doesn't mean that she is willing to do so here. And, of course, we don't really know anything about the condition of the elements and whether that presents difficulties. But, as has been noted, the features list "more!" and there are going to be 2 blu ray discs (so plenty of space?) - so maybe there is still hope.
I think the issue with Filming Othello is that it sits with the rival Welles gatekeeper. Have Beatrice Welles and Oja Kodar ever co-operated on any Welles restoration or other project?

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Max von Mayerling
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Re: 870 Othello

#68 Post by Max von Mayerling » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:39 pm

Sure. For example - and this is only speculation - Beatrice Welles could have conditioned licensing of Othello on not including Filming Othello. I've also read comments online saying that since Filming Othello contains multiple clips from Othello, Beatrice Welles is able to gum up circulation of the former.

In any event, it seems like there are several possible things that could be going on that would prevent the inclusion of Filming Othello. I'm still hoping that it could turn out to be the "more!"

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movielocke
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Re: 870 Othello

#69 Post by movielocke » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:43 pm

Ala the Bergman Rossellini set and Ingrid Bergman makes a movie release a few years down the road filming Othello gets a standalone release

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Drucker
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Re: 870 Othello

#70 Post by Drucker » Thu Feb 16, 2017 3:45 pm

Filming Othello b/w Filming The Trial [-o<

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Re: 870 Othello

#71 Post by jtarvainen » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:14 am

Confirmation from Jon Mulvaney that both versions will use the original soundtracks:
This release has a new restoration and both versions will use this new restoration along with the original soundtrack. The 1992 restoration is not being used.

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Re: 870 Othello

#72 Post by Wellesnet » Fri Feb 17, 2017 5:08 pm

Filming Othello is NOT owned by Beatrice Welles or Oja Kodar.
It was produced by the late Klaus and Juergen Hellwig for West German television.
The clips from Othello were owned by Beatrice Welles, but she has licensed Othello to Criterion.
I have never seen the contract between the Hellwigs and Orson Welles, but I assume it never spelled out home video deals.
The Hellwigs heirs and Criterion would have to work out a deal AND find the best possible elements.

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Re: 870 Othello

#73 Post by Ovader » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:11 am

It would be interesting if the More... would include the 1948 silent film tests Welles shot at his own expense to entice financing from potential producers. Reading about the production of this film via Orson Welles at Work is quite exhausting and frustrating but amazed how he came out of this ordeal from the clips I've seen of Othello on TCM (1992 version).

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Minkin
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Re: 870 Othello

#74 Post by Minkin » Wed Mar 22, 2017 7:44 pm

The more has been revealed:

Souvenirs d’“Otello,” a 1995 documentary about actor Suzanne Cloutier by François Girard
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By the comments of Wellesnet (see two posts up) - Filming Othello sounds like it would be as complicated to put together as Othello itself. That they've put out Bergman (actor + director) documentaries as stand alones, perhaps this will still come one day.

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The Narrator Returns
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Re: 870 Othello

#75 Post by The Narrator Returns » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:49 pm

This release has been pushed back to an unknown date.

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