Saturday, July 30, 2011

Othello (1952)

Orson Welles, 1952, 92m

This Othello is a flight of dazzling cinematographic imagination. It is a dark, brooding and melancholy vision set in the moisture permeated island of Cyprus, the waves from the far stretching sea lapping the stone architecture of the castle. Taking the play for granted, what remains from his viewing is the haunting power of the chiseled black and white images, the boldly crafted brushstrokes of the camera. It is backed by a perfect score which unobtrusively matches the flow of images. It is indeed difficult to do justice to the visual beauty of this film in words. The drama itself starts of somewhat slowly, but gathers pace to a satisfying climax. Welles as Othello gives a somber and restrained portrayal, very unlike the theatrics of Olivier. This is probably not a good introduction to the drama but stands as a cinematic vision on it's own strength. The movie is a tribute to the power of black and white. So what if the camera and not Shakespeare occupies the center space!

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