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Othello (Widescreen/Full Screen)


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Othello (Widescreen/Full Screen) + Great Performances: King Lear + Hamlet
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Product Details

  • Actors: Laurence Fishburne, Kenneth Branagh, Irène Jacob, Nathaniel Parker, Michael Maloney
  • Directors: Oliver Parker
  • Writers: Oliver Parker, William Shakespeare
  • Producers: David Barron, Jonathan Olsberg, Luc Roeg
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: Jan. 18 2000
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003OST5
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,660 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter Swift on Nov. 21 2003
Format: DVD
I've always been a fan of Kenneth Branagh and both his acting and directing abilities. However, in the film interpretation of "Othello," I was blown away by how well he fit the role of Iago. In the play, Iago has to be two-faced all the time. He shows one side of him to one person, and another side to another. In the film, Iago works very hard to keep up his appearance with all the different characters. No character sees more than one side of him, and his plots are kept to himself. Iago is an actor, and Branagh had to perform his part and I think he did it incredibly. While talking to Othello, his facial reactions would visibly change when Othello looked the other way; the audience saw glimpses of Iago's true motives, but they were always hidden from Othello. It was incredible how quickly the transition from a sinister expression to a loving and loyal expression was made. In one scene, Iago and Othello are hugging, and Iago's face reflects contempt as soon as his face is beside Othello's face.
Iago's changes aren't simply when Othello is around, but the changes are the same for when Iago deals with Roderigo. In the scenes with Roderigo, Iago has to perform doubly hard because he's being partially truthful with Iago. He's showing part of his true motives, but he still has to hide them to some extent to convince Roderigo to do his bidding. The scenes between Branagh and Michael Maloney probably impressed me the most. Roderigo may have been gullible or easily convinced, but Iago was still convincing and persuasive enough to move Roderigo from absolute hatred and distrust to absolute loyalty and thankfulness. In one scene, Roderigo is threatening to kill Iago and by the end of the scene, they're hugging and Iago can barely convince Roderigo to leave his side.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mom-to-be on March 9 2002
Format: DVD
This is one of the worst adaptations of Shakespeare yet done for the big screen. The script is completely butchered and the direction is more reminiscent of an MTV video than of Shakespeare. Irene Jacob can't really speak english all that well, so the performance is completely lost, and Brannagh gets just a little too full of himslef. Try another version. Please. The Bard was never meant to look this bad. Especially not for one of his greatest works.
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Format: DVD
Poor Laurence Fishburne. I felt so sorry for him watching this movie because he gives a passionate and multi-dimensional performance as Othello and yet, no one else in the cast matches or even comes close to his level of talent.
As the cover photo suggests, this is a more sexualized version of Shakespeare's tragedy, which doesn't make it bad, but definitely steals the focus from the other emotions that fuel the story. All of Othello's feelings were intense, not just those he had for Desdemona, and this fact is overlooked by the emphasis on his sexuality. Kenneth Braunagh is such a bad Iago that I actually found myself laughing at him. As for Irene Jacob's performance, it is really not worth mentioning here. She is pretty and exotic but she gives no depth to the wounded character of Desdemona. I truly wish that this movie could be redone by a different director with a different supporting cast, because it is a fascinating idea that just falls flat.
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Format: DVD
I am confused with many of the editorial reviews on the site. This incarnation of Othello is, in my mind, nearly perfect. Sure, it can't encapsulate everything Shakespeare intended, but it stays true to his themes of jealousy, obsession and power, and featured fantastic acting and production values.
What can I say about Othello that hasn't already been said in dozens of dissertations already? As one of the "big four" (Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear and Othello) it has remained a benchmark for tragedies for centuries. Some people might scoff at the film's intent to make Shakespeare accessible to the lay viewer, but it truly doesn't hurt the story or interfere with Shakespeare's always delightful prose. In short, the movie outperforms any preconceived notions one might have.
The cast is wonderful. A pre-Matrix Lawrence Fishburne stars as the Moor, Irene Jakob as Desdemona, and the infallible Kenneth Branaugh as Iago, Shakespeare's most complex and calculating villain. Often in Shakespeare plays, the villain is more interesting than the hero, and that is certainly true here. Branaugh steals every scene he is in with his coldly malevolent performance, and his asides to the audience are drenched in dread and rage. One can nearly pity the man, he comes off as so tortured. It is perhaps the best performance I've ever seen out of an actor, period. Fishburne was pretty much a nobody when the film was made, but that doesn't stop him from holding his own with Brannaugh and churning out the iambic pentameter. He hits his marks very well and is very convincing when it comes to acting with passion. Irene Jakob is not necessarily the choice I would have made for Desdemona. I would have chosen someone with a more coquettish personality.
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Format: DVD
As with most Shakespeare tragedies, it is difficult to make the magnificent play "Othello" into a film without making it seeming overly dramatic and haughty. This film is neither,and draws you in from the first scene taking place on a dark night in Venice.
When a director takes on a Shakespeare play, he has a slight advantage in that he already has an incredible stroy to work with that he does not have to (and should not) alter it at all.
The daunting part is finding actors who can play these characters, who have been read about and loved for centuries.
Laurence Fishburne's Othello is more sympathetic and noble than many would imagine the play's Othello to be. This works out nicely, as the viewer feels for Othello the entire time, and fears his downfall. Fishburne makes a remarkable transition in the film, and his love for Desdemona is very convincing.
Desdemona (Irene Jacob) is the picture of innocence and love. Irene Jacob and Laurence Fishburne have a great on-screen connection.
Kenneth Branagh (who plays Iago) brings yet another eye-catching Shakespeare character to the screen. He plays Iago with restrained anger and hate...you can see it bubbling through his calm demeanor.
If you enjoyed this film, you must rent Branagh's other Shakespeare films such as "Much Ado About Nothing" if you are in the mood for a comedy, or "Henry V" for an emotional epic.
Rated R for Sexuality and some violence
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