The Moorish General Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his Lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality, it is all part of the scheme of a bitter Ensign named Iago.
Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.
The film was due to be a one-hour adaptation of an Isak Dinesen story of the same name, from her collection Winter's Tales (1942). It would have starred Oja Kodar as a young French aristocratic widow during the 1870 Franco-Prussian War.
The Portuguese colony of Macao in the 19th century. Mr. Clay is a very rich merchant and the subject of town gossip. He has spent many years in China and is now quite old. He likes his clerk Levinsky to read the company's accounts to him at night for relaxation. Tonight Mr. Clay recounts a true story he heard years before about a rich man who paid a poor sailor 5 guineas to father a child with his beautiful young wife. Levinsky says that's a popular old sailor's legend and not true. Mr. Clay has no heir for his fortune and no wife either. He resolves to make the story true... Levinsky approaches Virginie, another clerk's mistress, and strikes a bargain for 300 guineas. Now to find the sailor...Written by
Orson Welles originally planned for this film to be made as part of an anthology of adaptations of stories by Karen Blixen. Originally made for French TV, it was later released in theaters. This movie is available on DVD from The Criterion Collection. See more »
Some of the Chinese signs are upside down or backwards. See more »
A number of people who have reviewed this here have watched this film over and over, but I think once has proved enough for me. While it is only an hour, it moves slowly, and while there is an appealing oddness to the proceedings I was never caught up in it. The basic idea is intriguing (less so if you read the reviews here, many of which give away more than they should) and Moreau is quite affecting, but I find the glowing comments of other viewers downright peculiar.
To me, this feels like an adaptation of a story (by Isaac Dineson) that would probably be better read. A tremendous amount of voice over commentary and soliloquies are threaded through, and my feeling is if you need this many words to tell a story, it is probably not a good film story.
Like everything by Welles, it is worth watching. While it feels cheaply made, it still exhibits his sense of composition and his unique sensibility. But ultimately it's not especially good (at least based on one viewing) and certainly far from Welles' great works.
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