Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: September ::
Reviews, etc. of O
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2095  Tuesday, 4 September 2001

[1]     From:   Richard Burt <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 3 Sep 2001 09:40:34 -0400
        Subj:   Reviews, etc. of O

[2]     From:   Hugh Davis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 03 Sep 2001 10:07:34 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2089 Re: Put out the light entertainment

[3]     From:   Richard Burt <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 3 Sep 2001 19:07:54 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2083 The Moor Shoots Hoops


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 3 Sep 2001 09:40:34 -0400
Subject:        Reviews, etc. of O

http://home.netscape.com/movies/openings/

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh Davis <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 03 Sep 2001 10:07:34 -0400
Subject: 12.2089 Re: Put out the light entertainment
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2089 Re: Put out the light entertainment

I've noted with interest that the reviews for _O_ (which I've yet to
see, but which I do hope to view) have been mixed.  On _Ebert & Roeper &
the Movies_ (they split, with Ebert offering thumbs up), the point of
contention really came down to the material.  Richard Roeper just
couldn't get past the rewriting of Shakespeare, prompting the return to
the question of any Shakespearean adaptation, "Is it Shakespeare?"
Roeper's concern was that he'd rather see "adults speaking Shakespeare's
prose" (in his words), while Ebert felt the re-setting of the text was
effective.

As one who studies Shakespearean films, I wrestle with this debate
often.  Last year, I presented on the proliferation of "teen-aged
classics" in recent film (including Shakespearean twists in _10 Things I
Hate About You_ and _Never Been Kissed_), and this very question was the
core of the discussion which followed.  How close does a text have to be
to the original to qualify as a "true" version?  Does stripping the
language destroy the intent?

Hugh Davis

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 3 Sep 2001 19:07:54 -0400
Subject: 12.2083 The Moor Shoots Hoops
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2083 The Moor Shoots Hoops

I agree with comments, though I prefer Porky's 2.  I thought O was a B
male melodrama.  It was much better on the big screen than it was on the
screener I saw.

A few additional thoughts:

1. Arthur Little Jr. argues that Otello is portrayed as a rapist.  I was
not convinced by his argument, but he would be right about O.  In fact,
the film goes both ways on the question of whether Othello and Dedemona
have sex.  O is described by Desi as often not wanting to have sex but
to just lie naed with her, and he says the same in their first nude
scene.  They just kiss.  The second scene is much more softcore-like
Original Sin or the Fishburne / Parker Othello.  But inexplicably after
Desi orgasms and in a riff on Welles Othello, sees himself in the mirror
and then Michael (Cassio), Desi tells him to stop.  Later she tells Em
(Emilia) that she wasn't raped, but it's clear that Em thinks she was
and that Em is right.

2. In addition to playing of racist stereotypes of black male sexuality
in the U.S. (as impotent / castrated and as super virile rapist of white
women as in that other O-J he is probably mean to recall -his name is
Odin James, after all), O is made violent.  In contrast to the scene
when Ibrabntio confronts Othello to arrest him and take him before the
Duke (when Othello tells his men to put up their swords before the dew
rusts them), O beats up Roger (Roederigo) quite violently.

3. The film shifts the usual site of homoeroticism from Iago (here Hugo)
to Othello (O).  O seems to have a thing for Michael as well as for
Hugo, and his disinterest in Desiu and interest in sex after seeing
Michael in the mirror, sex in which she clearly is not present to him,
reinforces the sense that O is bi or gay.

4. The film begins and ends with Ave Maria from Otello on the
soundtrack, itself an interpolation, of course, by Verdi and Boito.

5. One note on the film's reception. Check out the message board on
Netscape for it.  It is full of unbelievably racist, Southern diatribes
against interracial sex as well as similarly racist comments against
interracial sex by black women.  Shakespeare appears not to have
registered with these people.

6. Footnote Mikhi Pfifer (O) also played a character in High School High
whose mother is a stripper who does a bit of Lady Macbeth in Live Nude
Macbeth at the local strip club.

7. The actor who plays Michael also played Joey in 10 Things I Hate
About You.

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.