Othello [DVD] 
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This 1989 RSC production of Othello features a superlative, multi award-winning performance by the great Sir Ian McKellen as the dastardly Iago, alongside a rich and vivid portrayal of the eponymous hero by Jamaican operatic bass Willard White and a mould-breaking interpretation of Desdemona by director Trevor Nunns future wife, Imogen Stubbs. With far fewer characters than Shakespeares other tragedies and no subplots, Othello has an unparalleled simplicity, which this version brilliantly captures. It is the story of the doomed love between Desdemona, a beautiful and fiercely loyal young Venetian woman and Othello, an ageing Moroccan mercenary. Unfortunately for the happy couple, erstwhile friend Iago harbours an irrational hatred and jealousy of the noble and brave Othello. Determined to destroy both Othellos relationship with Desdemona and indeed his very life, Iago begins a subtle campaign of vilification, which inevitably and inexorably leads to tragedy.
Nunns version, set on Cyprus during the nineteenth century, brilliantly uses light, costumes and cinematography to underline the plays themes of innocence, infidelity, ownership, manipulation and sexual jealousy. The result is a truly unforgettable production.
as near to perfect a piece of television drama as you can get" -- The Times
"Ian McKellen gives a mesmerizing performance" -- The Daily Telegraph
Top Customer Reviews
The down side is that it looks like a taping of the theater performance. The power that good camera work and sets can bring is lost here. But this is easily made up by the cast.
Ian McKellen (Actor), Imogen Stubbs (Actor), Trevor Nunn (Director) | Rated: Universal,
Even if you don't do Shakespeare - and I hated it at school and for the next forty years - you should see this fabulous film. Wonderful perfrormances, great direction (Sir Trevor Nunn, best Shakespeare director ever). So don't be put off by the author's name, nothing high-brow about this, just an utterly absorbing battle between good and evil - not telling you which wins !
Well done jonsbargainbasement - a new seller to me. Delivered well within promised time and in the promised good condition. This is a long-wanted region2 copy with features, going to be treasured.
Something else too: there are no subtitles. These really help.
And what an Iago Ian McKellen makes! Absolutely astounding. You have to see it.
Willard White is serviceable as Othello, Zoe Wanamaker is her usual superb self as Emilia and Imogen Stubbs is surprisingly unpunchable in a role that really could only be played properly by a 23 year old Jeanne Moreau.
Great production that (voguishly, but brilliantly) takes the play down to its domestic roots and plays as a chamber piece.
There are always going to be limitations to film versions of theatre, but by accepting that this is what this "Othello" is, Trevor Nunn has come up with a production to treasure.
If you want a real treat, buy his "Macbeth" (also with McKellen, matched by a towering Judi Dench) at the same time. If anything, it's even better.
Really entertaining (and yet strangely educational) adaptation that certainly helped me to fully understand the play and ensured a good grade at A Level English.
Superior to every other Shakespeare adaptation by a country mile, Ian McKellen puts in an unbelievable performance as the Machiavellian Iago that puts most other actors to shame
Everything about the production is class and although the idea of watching a Shakepeare play is not appealing to all, this could be enjoyed by anyone
The casting of Willard White and Ian McKellen is inspired. The performances are faultless as you watch the systematic destruction and disintegration of Othello by his trusted second-in-command.
It is a play that tears you to pieces, and therefore cannot be watched often; in the hands of this cast, under the direction of Trevor Nunn, it is utterly gripping.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the theatre version and not a full film. I find the sound difficult and cannot hear all the words. Subtitles would have been useful. Ian McKellen is great.Published 6 months ago by Harvey Washbrook
A classic production, which I'd seen at the Young Vic all those years ago. So good to find it on dvd. Ian Mckellan is the stand out performance, but a strong ensemble too.Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
Brought 'Othello' (the play) alive for me. Ian McKellen is spectacular as Iago - really gave me an idea of how sneakily evil he was. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Ros Haywood
I was fortunate to see this production in the flesh in the old Other Place theatre in Stratford. This television version is a true representation of that staging. Read morePublished on 12 April 2011 by C. Moorcroft
Trevor Nunn's original production for the RSC is here remade for television. The entire cast is superb, but a special mention must go to Ian McKellen who is outstanding as Iago. Read morePublished on 18 Mar. 2011 by Terry