Thanks to Glenn, I just had the chance to see the 1952 European cut of OTHELLO on DVD for the very first time and was quite startled by how different, (and to my mind, superior), this version is to the 1955 American version.
The 1955 U.S. version was released by United Artists (and in 1993 on Criterion laserdisc), and was the version that was re-scored and re-edited for the 1992 Beatrice Welles approved "mutilation" which made far more mistakes then corrections.
Here's how the opening reel of the the 1952 version plays out... If you look at the 1955 version while scanning the text below, you'll see that almost every scene contains additional lines from Shakespeare's play which Welles eliminated from his 1955 U.S. cut.
In place of the lines and scenes he cut, Welles added two sections of voice-over narration.
The long opening scene of the Funeral procession of Othello and Desdemona, along with the caging of Iago...
THE TITLES ARE SPOKEN BY ORSON WELLES
Over the spoken titles, we see a series of beautiful lap-dissolves of ship masts in Venice harbor, reflections in canals, scenes of the city, cats walking in alleyways, etc...
The Tragedy of OTHELLO.
This is a motion picture based on the play by William Shakespeare. The cast of characters in order of their appearance:
(Here Welles reads the entire cast and credits, ending with):
Orson Welles directed and produced. This is a Mercury production.
Dissolve from rippling water of a canal to Othello and Desdemona before the Church altar, viewed by Iago and Roderigo.
Desdemona and Othello…
I have told thee often and I retell thee again and again:
I hate the Moor. It is thought abroad that twixt my sheets he
Hath done me offence. I know it be true.
What a full fortune does the thick lips owe!
If he can carry’t thus!
II'll poison his delight.
But how, Iago?
Proclaim him in the streets; incense her kinsmen,
And, though he in a fertile climate dwell,
plague him with flies.
Now they come. What should I do think’st thou?
Why, go to bed, and sleep.
I will incontinently drown myself.
What should I do?
Do, put money in thy purse. Ere I would say,
I would drown myself for the love of a guinea-hen,
I would change my humanity with a baboon.
Roderigo and Iago follow Othello and Desdemonda in a gondola while Iago talks:
I say put money in thy purse. Come, be a man.
Drown thyself? Drown cats and blind puppies!
It cannot be that Desdemona should long continue her love to the Moor, nor he his to her. This was a violent commencement, and thou shalt see an answerable sequestration. Fill thy purse with money.
When she is sated with his body,
she will find the error of her choice:
she must have change, she must.
Therefore make money. If thou needs damn thyself,
do it a more delicate way than drowning.
Iago and Roderigo in a gondola in front of Brabantio's house.
IAGO and RODERIGO
Awake! Thieves! Thieves! Look to your house! Look to your house! Your daughter! Your daughter!
Signor, is all you family within?
Why, wherefore ask you this?
If't be your pleasure... that your fair daughter be
Transported, with no worse nor better guard
But with a knave of common hire, a gondolier,
To the gross clasps of a lascivious Moor.
This thou shalt answer!
Straight satisfy yourself:
If she be in her chamber or your house.
Iago, can I depend on the issue?
Thou art sure of me: go, make money.
It is too true an evil: gone she is…
Is there not charms
By which the property of youth and maidhood
May be abused? Have you not read Roderigo
Of some such thing?
Yes sir, I have indeed.
Call up all my people, raise my kindred!
Where is the Moor? Out with him. Speak!
Hold your hands,
Both you of my inclining, and the rest:
Where it my cue to fight, I should have know it
Without a prompter.
O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow'd my daughter?
Keep up your bright swords, for the dew will rust them.
Good signor, where would you that I go
To answer this your charge?
To prison, till fit time
Of law and course of direct session
Call thee to answer.
Pray you lead on.
Iago, bring Desdemona after us, and let your wife attend on her.
Yes my lord?
Bring Desdemona after us.
Senators and officials on the steps and balcony of the Doge's Palace.
My letters say a hundred and seven galleys.
And mine, a hundred and forty.
And there’s two hundred:
Yet do they all confirm
A Turkish fleet, and bearing up towards Cyprus.
Signor’s, Signor’s… The Turkish preparation makes
To Rhodes? How many do you guess?
Of thirty sail…
(reading letter from Montano)
…and now they do re-stem
Their back ward course, bearing with frank appearance
their purposes toward Cyprus.
Here comes the Moor.
Your Grace, your Grace…
(falls down on stairs)
My Lord Brabantio!
My daughter… oh my daughter.
What’s the matter?
She is abused, stol'n from me, ay, corrupted
By magic spells.
I'm very sorry.
Interior of the Senate chamber
She in chains of magic were not bound, made to tender,
fair and happy, whatever have to incur a general mock
run from her father to the sooty bosom of such a thing as that.
Damned as thou art, thou hast enchanted her!
Othello, what in your own part can you say to this?
Nothing, but this is so.
Did you by indirect and forced courses
Subdue and poison this young maid's affections?
Most potent, grave, and reverend signors,
My very noble and approved good masters,
That I have ta'en away this old man's daughter,
It is most true; true, I have married her:
The very head and front of my offending
Hath this extent, no more. Rude am I in my speech,
And little bless'd with the soft phrase of peace:
For since these arms of mine had seven years' pith,
Till now some nine moons wasted, they have used
Their dearest action in the tented field,
And little of this great world can I speak,
More than pertains to feats of broil and battle,
And therefore little shall I grace my cause
In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,
I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver
Of my whole course of love; what drugs, what charms,
What conjuration and what mighty magic,
For such proceeding I am charged withal,
I won his daughter... Brabantio loved me, oft invited me;
Still question'd me the story of my life,
I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field
Of hair-breadth scapes i' the imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
And portance in my travels' history:
Wherein of antres vast and deserts idle,
Rough quarries, rocks and hills whose heads touch heaven
It was my hint to speak...This to hear
Would Desdemona seriously incline:
But still the house-affairs would draw her thence:
Which ever as she could with haste dispatch,
She'd come again, and with a greedy ear
Devour up my discourse: I ... found good means
To draw from her a prayer of earnest heart
That I would all my pilgrimage dilate,...
And often did beguile her of her tears,
When I did speak of some distressful stroke
That my youth suffer'd. ...
She gave me for my pains a world of sighs:
She swore, in faith, twas strange, 'twas passing strange,
'Twas pitiful, 'twas wondrous pitiful:
She wish'd she had not heard it, yet she wish'd
That heaven had made her such a man: she thank'd me,
And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,
I should but teach him how to tell my story.
And that would woo her. Upon this hint I spake:
She loved me for the dangers I had pass'd,
And I loved her that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have used.