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Othello - BBC Shakespeare collection [1981] [DVD]


Price: £17.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Othello - BBC Shakespeare collection [1981] [DVD] + York Notes on Shakespeare's "Othello" (York Notes Advanced) + Othello (Arden Shakespeare.Third Series)
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Product details

  • Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Bob Hoskins, Penelope Wilton, David Yelland, Rosemary Leach
  • Directors: Colin Lowrey
  • Producers: Jonathan Miller
  • Format: PAL, Colour, Full Screen, Subtitled, Mono
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: BBC Worldwide
  • Run Time: 205 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000V6XVZE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,701 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

In 1978, the BBC set itself the task of filming all of William Shakespeare's plays for television. The resulting productions, renowned for their loyalty to the text, utilised the best theatrical and television directors and brought highly praised performances from leading contemporary actors - OTHELLO [1981] When Desdemona defies her senator father to marry Othello, the Moor of Venice seems to have everything - love, friendship, status and respect. But within Othello's great love for his bride lies the seeds of its own destruction. And, from his own ranks, comes the slighted Iago - a maninpulative figure who is pepared to nurture the Moor's misgivings for his own interests... Jonathan Miller's magnificent production utilises the indubitable talents of Anthony Hopkins and Bob Hoskins in the lead roles of Shakespeare's theatrical masterpiece. Indeed Hopkins admitted, "Othello is the part I've always most wanted to play." Together they weave an increasingly tense web of manipulation, deception and jealousy on a tragic path to self-understanding.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By R. Baardman on 30 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
One of the more controversial productions in the BBC Television Shakespeare cycle, Othello has the dubious distinction of being the last British television production of the play with a white actor in the title role. This was not what was originally intended, but the initial casting choice, American actor James Earl Jones, proved impossible to cast following complaints by the British actors' union Equity. This arguably would have ensured a hostile reception on its US television airing regardless of who eventually played the part.

Of all Shakespeare's great tragedies, Othello is conceived on the smallest scale, and Jonathan Miller's approach to both staging and design stresses its domesticity. It almost entirely takes place in interiors: there's only the most fleeting visual impression of Venice, while the sunnier environs of Cyprus are conveyed through lighting alone. As with most of Miller's productions, the visual inspiration came from sixteenth-century Mediterranean painters, in this case Tintoretto, El Greco and Velasquez. At 205 minutes, this is one of the longest BBC Shakespeare productions, and the text is duly presented almost complete, with only minor trims to material rendered redundant by small-screen restaging.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jacques COULARDEAU on 5 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD
To watch Othello after Romeo and Juliet is a sort of provocation, a way to provoke reflection and illumination. From the hardly pubertal lovers we shift to adults that do not seem to be in any way saner than the pubertal kids. Their difference is the way they are entangled in ambition, jealousy and hatred from other adults and from themselves, destroying their love and its beauty..

Othello, the Moor, is a general for the Republic of Venice stationed in Cyprus and defending the island against the constant pressure from the Turks. He has an ensign who is the most evil person you can imagine, and a lieutenant who is the most sensitive person you can imagine. Iago is the first one and Cassio is the second. A pair that is clearly set up as the two perfect antagonistic characters with one being the predator and the other the pray, in that order.

The objective of Iago is to become the lieutenant at first and then the general himself if possible. He uses all kinds of plotting devices and he succeeds marvelously: planting jealousy in Othello's heart about Desdemona and Cassio gives him a first victory against Cassio who is eliminated from his lieutenant position and replaced by Iago, but the Duke a Venice arrives with orders from the Senate: Othello is to go back to Venice and Cassio is to take his place in Cyprus. A full defeat for Iago.

Then Iago speeds up the machine to eliminate Cassio by having him killed or at least incapacitated, and by heating the cauldron of Othello's jealousy till it may explode, and explode it does. We all know what's next. Othello tries to choke and strangle Desdemona and nearly succeeds but before dying she speaks a few words to her chambermaid, Iago's wife.

The last scene is Shakespearean to the utmost.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Some big name stars delivering excellent performances. Script by a great wordsmith. And a simple plot line. What more could you wish for? Othello is as much a warning against gossip and rumour as it is a very entertaining play. The BBC plays are faithful to the original script and very well acted both by household names and those less so. If you are a fan of Shakespeare or just mildly interested in his body of works then you will enjoy this play.
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