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Based on Shakespeare's play: As Venice welcomes their victorious general, Othello the Moor, back to the city, some of them are waiting for Othello to choose his new lieutenant, while others are busy courting the popular Desdemona, the daughter of a Senator. Othello chooses the loyal Cassio as his lieutenant, arousing bitter jealousy in Iago, another soldier, who vows to scheme against his general. That same night, Othello elopes with Desdemona. Othello is soon sent to Cyprus to repel a Turkish invasion, and he arranges for Iago and his wife to bring Desdemona with them to Cyprus. When Iago's wife learns of a treasured handkerchief that Othello gave to Desdemona, this provides Iago with an idea that he hopes will destroy Othello by provoking him to jealousy.Written by
This film was first telecast 19 August 1948 on New York City's freshly launched WJZ (Channel 7), the first and only station at that time to offer an ongoing series of silent feature films in more or less complete form, shown intermittently for the next twelve months. The Eagle (1925) would be their next offering, Sunday 12 September 1948. See more »
In 2001, Kino International Corp. copyrighted a 79-minute version of this film, with a new piano music score composed and performed by Jon Mirsalis. All written material is in English; Emil Jannings and director Dimitri Buchowetzki are the only original cast and crew listed. See more »
This atmospheric and very interesting adaptation of Shakespeare's "Othello" adds a good dose of German silent film style to the classic story of jealousy and deceit. Although at times the emphasis is placed somewhat differently than in the original, the adaptation shows good judgment in highlighting the themes and sequences that would work the best on the silent screen.
The basic story holds closely to the plot of the play. Emil Jannings makes a fine Othello, since his emotional style fits the volatile character well. Werner Krauss is particularly memorable as Iago. Of the main characters, Iago is the one who comes across most differently from the role in the play - here he is jaunty rather than sullen, an evil genius who shows obvious relish in each step of his malicious plans. The character and Krauss's performance work quite well for a movie adaptation. Another interesting difference is that here Emilia's role is enlarged and given more importance, in comparison with the play.
The emphasis is, as it should be in Shakespeare, on the characters; but the photography, settings, and the rest of the production are all of good quality as well. It's quite a good version of the story for a movie made in the early 1920s.
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