The Moor of Hollywood: An analysis of Oliver Parker’s Othello

Laurence Fishburne (left) as Othello, with Kenneth Branagh (right) as Iago

Theatrical, Filmic and Realist Approaches

Stuart Burge’s 1965 film was based on the National Theatre Company’s staging of the play
Orson Welles’ expressionist 1951 version underwent a tumultuous production and was filmed over three years
Parker’s Othello settled on a more realistic staging of the play for the screen

“I am not what I am” — Iago as Director

Branagh’s voyeuristic Iago becomes something of a director himself within the film

Othello and O.J

Fishburne was the first African-American to play Othello in a major studio production
Willard White was the first black actor to play Othello in Trevor Nunn’s 1989 production for the RSC

Shakespeare meets Fatal Attraction

Paul Robeson and Uta Hagen in the 1943 Broadway production
Parker’s film presented another first for the play — screen sex between Othello and Desdemona (Irene Jacob)
An erotic thriller to “attract people who would not normally go to see a Shakespeare film”



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Lawrence Bennie

Lawrence Bennie

Teacher & Theatre tour guide. Interested in Arts & Culture, Film, History, Psychology, and the odd mystery!