Picks and Pans Review: Othello
Laurence Fishburne, Kenneth Branagh, Irène Jacob
When Fishburne delivers his famous oration to the Venetian court—explaining to these white noblemen why fair Desdemona is perfectly justified in falling for him head over heels,—he's coolly confident. He will prevail here, just as in war. What's lacking is the Moor's highfalutin grandeur—a levelheaded Othello has that much less farther to fall. Fishburne's jealous anguish is painfully realistic—when this man of steel cries, the tears roll down his face with a molten heaviness—but anguish isn't the same as tragedy.
Orson Welles's amazing movie version of Othello, shot helter-skelter between 1948 and '52 and painstakingly restored three years ago, is now available on video. Why not go out and rent that? (R)
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