The Tragedy of Othello 1952Seeped in irrational hatred for Othello the Moor (Orson Welles), Iago (Micheal MacLiammoir) sets out to destroy him and fellow officer Michael Cassio (Michael Laurence). Othello has recently married the beautiful, young Desdemona (Suzanne Cloutier, voice: Gudrun Ure), much to the regret of the foolish Roderigo (Robert Coote, voice: Orson Welles), who wanted her for himself. Iago uses Roderigo in his plot to disgrace Cassio, and than persuade Othello that Desdemona is unfaithful.
Orson Welles' adaptation of William Shakespeare's legendary Othello retains the core of the classic play, but it introduces the viewer to its characters and the reality in which they exist in a rather unusual fashion. Indeed, the film opens up with a funeral procession which reveals how it would end -- the bodies of Othello and his bride are carried away, while the evil Iago is placed in a giant cage. Welles then sends the viewer back in time and reassembles the events preceding the deaths of Othello and Desdemona.

Criterion's release features brand new 4K restorations of the 1952 and 1955 versions.

Director: Orson Welles
Cast: Orson Welles, Micheal MacLiammoir, Suzanne Cloutier
Country: USA, Italy, Morocco, France
Genre: Drama, History, Romance

2xBD50 + 3xDVD | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 01:33:31, 01:30:59 | 90 Gb + 17.9 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English


Audio Commentary for the 1955 Version - this archival audio commentary features Peter Bogdanovich and Orson Welles' scholar Myron Meisel. It was recorded in 1994, and it initially appeared on Criterion's LD release of Othello.

Filming "Othello" - Orson Welles' final completed project, which is narrated by its creator, examines the genesis of Othello, its strengths and flaws, and its lasting appeal. The iconic director/actor also shares a number of interesting anecdotes, including one about an important figure at a very important film festival that could not figure out what the Moorish national anthem was. In English, not subtitled. (83 min, 1080p).

Return to Glennascaul (1951) - presented here is Hilton Edwards' short film, which is also known as Orson Welles' Ghost Story. Orson Welles stars in it and narrates it. Actor Micheal MacLiammoir (Iago) was one of its producers. Also included with the film is an archival introduction by Peter Bogdanovich. In English, not subtitled. (28 min, 1080p).

Souvenirs d'"Othello" - this Canadian documentary features archival conversations with actress Suzanne Cloutier (Desdemona) in which she shares her memories of working with Orson Welles during the production of Othello. The conversations were filmed in Venice in 1994, and in Essaouira in 1994. The documentary was produced for Canadian TV. In English and French, with optional English subtitles where necessary. (49 min, 1080i).

Simon Callow - in this new video interview, explains what prompted Orson Welles to move to Europe in 1947 and discusses the difficult production history of Othello (with specific and very interesting comments about his casting choices and how they defined the tone and atmosphere of the film). The interview was conducted exclusively for Criterion in 2017.In English, not subtitled. (22 min).

Ayanna Thompson - New interview with Ayanna Thompson, author of Passing Strange: Shakespeare, Race, and Contemporary America (21;12)

Joseph McBride - in this new featurette, film historian and author Joseph McBride (Orson Welles; What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career) deconstructs Othello, highlights some of its unique qualities, some interesting differences between the main versions of the film, and discusses its difficult production history. There is a slightly longer version of the featurette on Carlotta Films' release of Othello. The featurette was produced by Robert Fischer for Fiction Factory. In English, not subtitled. (33 min, 1080p).

Francois Thomas - in this brand new video program, Francois Thomas, coauthor of Orson Welles at Work, discusses the editing of the different versions of Othello. The programs was created exclusively for Criterion in 2017. (19 min, 1080p).

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