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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars

on 15 March 2004
Excellent cast and performance. The characters are brought to life and the complex relationships between them are well developed. Ian McKellan does an electrifying Iago. Imogen Stubbs brings depth to a very difficult character - Desdimona can be too shallow, but Stubbs gives the character life and vitality to make her real.
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.
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on 26 June 2012
Othello (1990) [DVD]
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.
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on 27 November 2009
Dark and pokey production. It's a real shame but I persisted as I would watch a cast like this advertising toilet paper all day. I suppose we have all been spoiled by digital images and sound with wonderful settings, like Branagh's 'Hamlet.'

Something else too: there are no subtitles. These really help.
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on 22 November 2007
It's one of those accepted blips: any production of "Othello" doesn't rely on the performance of the eponymous hero, but of his Nemesis, Iago.
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.
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on 2 November 2003
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
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on 4 June 2009
I wasn't sure which of the many versions on offer I should buy and pondered long and hard (we wanted it to help our daughter with her GCSE)before I decided on this version - and I don't think I could have chosen better. The cast is superb but Ian Mckellern is outstanding as Iago, his asides to the camera are wonderfully conspiratorial. It has a 'stagey' feel which I loved. Equally the transference of the play to the 19th Century worked really well. I can recommend this version unreservedly - it is the full play (Three and a half hours almost)and even has an 'interval'! Bravo to all involved in this production.
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on 9 June 2005
I studied this play for "A" level English many moons ago, so it was with anticipation that I bought this video.
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.
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on 5 October 2009
this was purchased for my daughter who is sitting her higher english exam this year,she found the words used in the novel were difficult to understand,finding a DVD was extremelly hard,so purchased this item.It has helped my daughter so much and i would recommend for anyone in a similar position to purchase it!
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on 28 October 2008
DVD turned up within 24 hours - well done Amazon and Royal Mail.

As with other reviews here, the quality of the acting can't be faulted. So I'll review with from a different perspective...

It is entirely filmed on a set, there are outdoor scenes in the play but they are all filmed in doors, so it feels a little dark and claustrophobic.

Unfortunatley, the picture quality is more like watching a video tape, not what DVD can offer. I know the material is from 1990, but it's not the dark ages. The picture is washed out somewhat, there is fringing on the images and it is a bit grainy at times. Metrodome could have spent some time post-processing the print to bring out more colour and contrast at least.

I'll be interested to compare this DVD with my SVHS recording I made of it at the time - I could probably capture a better quality print!!!

All the negativity out of the way, you'll soon forget these issues once you are engrossed in the content.
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on 18 March 2011
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. It is often said that this play is more about Iago than Othello, and it is certainly the case that Ian McKellen's performance lives longer in the memory. I was so blown away by his portrayal of the villian, that I doubt I shall ever witness better.

Like another reviewer, I thought the sound quality on this DVD was poor. Sadly, there are no subtitles to help overcome this, but I found that listening through headphones improved things considerably. The picture is also a bit of a let down. I'm no expert, but I believe that the technology exists to clean up old video and film. Perhaps a future release could address some of these issues? Even so, the performances ensure that you will not be disappointed with this full version of the play.

The costumes, and especially the navy blue infantry uniforms, have something of the American Civil War about them, but work surprisingly well given the many references to Europe in the play. The sets are somewhat basic, but that isn't too surprising given the production's stage origins. The performances more than make up for the indoor studio feel. For a more cinematic experience, you could try the 1995 version starring Kenneth Branagh as Iago, though that version is abridged.

Despite some reservations with the quality of picture and sound, I would recommend this version over the others available if you are studying the play.

As for extras there is an audio commentary by Nunn, McKellen and Stubbs. The History of Othello, Words from Ian McKellen, and Biographies, are simple text articles and nothing to get excited about.

It is lucky for us that a decision was made to commit Trevor Nunn's RSC production to film.
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