Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
This documentary chronicles the extraordinary efforts that went into Orson Welles' movie production of the Shakespearean play, Othello. For reasons which must remain unknown, though friendship and admiration surely played a part, scores of actors and filmmakers contributed freely to Welles' budgetless effort, which began in 1948 and culminated with the film's winning a Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) from the Cannes Film Festival in 1952. Welles had to take other paying work during the filming of Othello, because he frequently ran out of money. Also, due to the protracted shooting schedule, it was shot in a wide variety of locations. The makers of this 1978 documentary interviewed Welles and as many others as they could find in order to uncover as much information as they could about this legendary production. Because of its high-toned subject matter and production peculiarities, the film was never more than a critical success, but film devotees arranged for a fully restored version to be made available in 1992.