Othello (1914)

Sub-Genres - Tragedy  |  
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William Shakespeare's immortal tragedy Othello had already been filmed several times as a "short subject" before this feature-length Italian version was produced in 1914. Though longer than previous versions, at 75 minutes this Othello was still required to prune down the original play considerably. American reviewers, who were on a xenophobic kick in the early days of WWI, didn't treat this adaptation too kindly. Singled out for ridicule was the actor playing the leading role, whom the reviewer for the trade magazine Variety likened to a blackface comedian in a minstrel show. Of the rest of the picture, only the last-act strangling of Desdemona met with critical approval, despite its so-called "gruesome" aspects.