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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Morbii
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:38 am

Re: 870 Othello

#101 Post by Morbii » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:23 pm

Anyone notice that at 1:27:38 (1952 version) Othello says “nay”, and it sounds like a computer voice?

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Drucker
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Re: 870 Othello

#102 Post by Drucker » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:36 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?
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.
I've seen whatever version of this film was available via Netflix DVD a few years ago and having only seen the 1992 film once, two years ago, I can't immediately say how different the versions are, but what a difference my viewing tonight made. The film that was too abstract, weird, and hard to follow finally clicked with the Criterion. The soundtrack is among Welles' best, and indeed the original score makes quite a difference compared to the re-recording.

The film is incredibly intimidating and jarring. The film's depiction of Othello's mental downfall is very strong, and something that occurred to me is the film actually previews a lot of what Mr. Arkadin does. The scene of Othello coming to after laying down on the beach and the bath scene are probably the best. Even by Welles' standards of interesting use of camera, these scenes stand out as being disorienting in a very positive way. There's something particularly low about Iago and the protagonist in Arkadin, even when compared to similar characters in other films of his.

This film became one of my favorite Welles films tonight. Absolutely sensational.

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Big Ben
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Re: 870 Othello

#103 Post by Big Ben » Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:40 am

Drucker wrote:
This film became one of my favorite Welles films tonight. Absolutely sensational.
Which version did you watch? I've been meaning to pick up a copy myself and I've been wondering which version people prefer.

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Drucker
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Re: 870 Othello

#104 Post by Drucker » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:03 pm

I watched the 1952 version.

I also just watched Filming Othello and it is absolutely superb. I would summarize it as saying it by saying it's more or less an ideal commentary track. Not only are there interesting story of the production history and how the film came to be, but the in-depth discussion of the film itself is deeper than I can ever remember experiencing anywhere else. Welles talks in-depth about the evolution of the architecture in the film and its progress to match the overall tone of the film, which was lost on me even in last night's viewing. And then there's a great discussion about the source materials with a few of the actors from the film. Interestingly, this happens over a dinner party. Towards the end of the party, Welles is filmed in such a way that it almost feels like he re-recorded parts of his thoughts after the fact. Does anyone know if this is the case?

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hearthesilence
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Re: 870 Othello

#105 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Nov 25, 2017 3:55 pm

This was indeed the case. The shots with him in them were filmed much later - I believe a few years later too. Except for a difference in audio quality of Welles’s talking (and even then in just a spot or two) it’s pretty seamless how he re-cut himself into the conversation.

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Drucker
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Re: 870 Othello

#106 Post by Drucker » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:43 pm

The filming is just vastly different. The other two seem to be a part of a live hand held dinner party shot, whereas shots of Welles have no overlapping dialogue, a still camera, and totally different film grain.

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swo17
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Re: 870 Othello

#107 Post by swo17 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 5:01 pm

Since people are actually watching this thing, I might mention that Souvenirs d'Othello contains what I would assume is a spoiler for The Other Side of the Wind.

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Roger Ryan
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Re: 870 Othello

#108 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:57 pm

Drucker wrote:The filming is just vastly different. The other two seem to be a part of a live hand held dinner party shot, whereas shots of Welles have no overlapping dialogue, a still camera, and totally different film grain.
Welles also mismatched the angles here so both he and Edwards/MacLiammoir are looking in the same direction (a no-no for interview footage). He could have flipped all of the shots of his interview subjects to create a more seamless match, but...

I'm sure I've mentioned this numerous times in this thread, but the 1952 edit is the best of the two in my opinion: the additional Venice footage grounds the exposition in a much more coherent manner and the overall voice synchronization is better as well (Welles re-recorded huge chunks of dialogue for the 1955 version).

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hearthesilence
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Re: 870 Othello

#109 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:31 pm

Roger Ryan wrote:
Drucker wrote:The filming is just vastly different. The other two seem to be a part of a live hand held dinner party shot, whereas shots of Welles have no overlapping dialogue, a still camera, and totally different film grain.
Welles also mismatched the angles here so both he and Edwards/MacLiammoir are looking in the same direction (a no-no for interview footage). He could have flipped all of the shots of his interview subjects to create a more seamless match, but...
Hah, guess it wasn't so seamless after all!

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knives
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Re: 870 Othello

#110 Post by knives » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:40 pm

Really wish Filming had subtitles. Welles is such a quick speaker it is sometimes hard to understand him.

John Shade
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Re: 870 Othello

#111 Post by John Shade » Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:58 pm

I finally got around to watching this recently and have been reticent to post my opinion. Both a lifelong Welles fan, but more so an avid lover of Shakespeare (and I like Welles' take on Macbeth and Chimes, mostly), but this just did not click for me. The choice to open the film the way he does seems very dated, like it would have been a cool experiment rearranging the tragedy in the theater world of the '50s, but it just doesn't quite work. I also have mixed feelings about Liammoir's Iago. This is perhaps Shakespeare's greatest character after Hamlet and the role requires so much nuance; don't over do it as some prankish trickster, but don't play it as a stoic Machiavelli.

Having taught the play for like four years in a row and read copiously from the two most recent Arden editions, along with A.C. Bradley's lecture (I mention those two primarily but there is a wealth of good material out there) I'm not sure how these performances stack up to some of the legendary productions over the centuries mentioned in those works. I could add more here but don't want to come off pedantic--Shakespeare adaptations are difficult enough as it is and usually are changed in some form for a film iteration.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: 870 Othello

#112 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:40 pm

I thought there were some visually splendid scenes -- but wasn't (generally) carried away by the performances....

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domino harvey
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Re: 870 Othello

#113 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:12 pm

I didn't this version either. Still think O's modern interpretation is the cleverest adaptation of them all

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knives
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Re: 870 Othello

#114 Post by knives » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:22 pm

Honestly I think this is one of the weaker plays and always destined to be a runner up for adaptations. Will nonetheless second for O which is at least clever about it's B side nature.

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domino harvey
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Re: 870 Othello

#115 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:32 pm

I wouldn't go that far, but my Shakespeare professor, with whom I took many classes and who helped shape many of my own views, didn't hold it in much esteem either. We very pointedly never studied it (or Hamlet!) for any of our courses

nitin
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Re: 870 Othello

#116 Post by nitin » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:02 am

Still think Omkara is the best adaptation of Othello I have seen.

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Roger Ryan
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Re: 870 Othello

#117 Post by Roger Ryan » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:21 pm

John Shade wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:58 pm
I finally got around to watching this recently and have been reticent to post my opinion. Both a lifelong Welles fan, but more so an avid lover of Shakespeare (and I like Welles' take on Macbeth and Chimes, mostly), but this just did not click for me...
Given this film's protracted and chaotic production schedule, the real achievement is that the film holds together at all and maintains the slimmest veneer of continuity. Expecting it to be a strong adaptation of Shakespeare is probably too much to ask. Compared to his two other feature-length Shakespeare adaptations, Welles didn't have a lot of familiarity with Othello prior to the film shoot. In fact, he did his first live staging of the play after the film had been completed. Prior to the concentrated three-and-a-half weeks he had to shoot the film version of Macbeth, he had directed and performed in the play in Salt Lake City (and, of course, he had famously directed the play in Harlem in 1936). Similarly, the shooting of Chimes at Midnight followed a theatrical version...and at least twenty-five years of Welles ruminating on how to make Falstaff the center of his own story. Without having much experience with Othello, Welles shot his film version in bits and pieces over a period of about two-and-a-half years; maintaining consistent performances with an appreciable amount of nuance would have been a tall order.

John Shade
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Re: 870 Othello

#118 Post by John Shade » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:51 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:32 pm
I wouldn't go that far, but my Shakespeare professor, with whom I took many classes and who helped shape many of my own views, didn't hold it in much esteem either. We very pointedly never studied it (or Hamlet!) for any of our courses
I'm very curious about this--have to say I tend to think of this as Shakespeare's most dramatic play; plus it all moves so quickly and is condensed so well. The Iago character offers so much...maybe this requires a thread split but I'm interested in this professor's views and the plays they preferred, etc. (Thanks for clarifying above about some of the production aspects, Roger Ryan. None of that really surprises me. I'll have to delve into the special features.)

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domino harvey
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Re: 870 Othello

#119 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:56 pm

We have a Shakespeare thread here, I'll be happy to talk more about it there!

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