Cinema: One Man's Moor

Othello traditionally requires two great actors to ignite, between them, the flaming poetry and the kindling passion of Shakespeare's tragedy. This British National Theater production, color-filmed on stagelike sets with a restrained cinema technique, is a one-man show that scants Iago to star Laurence Olivier as the Moor. London critics were overwhelmed by the almost inexhaustible resourcefulness of Olivier's stage interpretation. Archivists should cherish the film as a record of what happens when the greatest actor in the English-speaking theater attacks a famous, difficult role and stamps his genius upon it. Yet Olivier's Othello seems ultimately to be pitted less against...

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