Orson Welles's Shakespeare Films: An Annotated Checklist

By Fernandez, Jose Ramon Diaz | Shakespeare Bulletin, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

Orson Welles's Shakespeare Films: An Annotated Checklist


Fernandez, Jose Ramon Diaz, Shakespeare Bulletin


The present article provides a comprehensive reference guide for the screen adaptations of Shakespeare's plays directed by Orson Welles (1915-1985), including his partially lost film of The Merchant of Venice (1969) and the documentary Filming Othello (1978). The checklist includes one section for each of these films in chronological order, providing full details of all the relevant critical studies devoted to them. Although the bibliography attempts to be as exhaustive as possible, certain entries have been discarded: abstracts, announcements, dissertations, reports of conferences and courses, and works containing only passing references. Interviews have been listed only if they specifically deal with one or several Shakespearean adaptations; those referring to Welles's whole oeuvre have been excluded. Coverage of reviews is necessarily selective for reasons of space; the reader may instead consult The World Shakespeare Bibliography Online for a fuller coverage. The citation of online material is also selective. Items in the bibliography are usually annotated, providing further information about their content, about their referencing of other filmic adaptations of Shakespeare, and/or about their language (if the title does not clarify it). I have not added annotations when a particular item can be classified as an overview of Welles's directorial career, a general study of one film or if the title well describes its contents. Similarly, limitations of space have forced me to exclude reprints unless they constitute a substantial revision of the original item. The present bibliography is not restricted to English-language studies; it also includes references to articles in French, German, Italian, Spanish and other languages. If an entry deals with two or more films by Welles, it will be fully listed the first time it appears and, in order to avoid repetition, cross-referenced at the end of each subsequent section.

Several people deserve to be mentioned here since they helped me in many different ways while I was looking for relevant material. David Sharp at the British Film Institute provided expert help and friendly conversation while informing me about the existence of material I would never have found without his assistance. Gracia Navas Quintana's work at the Interlibrary Loan Service Section in my university proved invaluable in locating rare materials. Judith Buchanan, Marta Cerezo, Celestino Deleyto, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, James L. Harner, Sarah Hatchuel, Bernice Kliman, Sofia Munoz Valdivieso, Kenneth S. Rothwell and Mariangela Tempera kindly replied to my queries, provided detailed information about their publications or sent me xeroxes and offprints. An earlier version of the Othello section was initially presented as a paper at the 2004 Meeting of the Shakespeare Association of America in New Orleans, and I am immensely grateful to Samuel Crowl for having invited me to contribute it to the workshop "Teaching Shakespeare on Film."

A. Macbeth

Dir. Orson Welles (USA, 1948)

A1. Anderegg, Michael. "Welles/Shakespeare/Film: An Overview." Orson Welles, Shakespeare, and Popular Culture. Film and Culture Series. New York: Columbia UP, 1999. 57-73.

A2. --. "Shakespeare Rides Again: The Republic Macbeth." Orson Welles, Shakespeare, and Popular Culture. Film and Culture Series. New York: Columbia UP, 1999. 74-97.

A3. --. "In and Out of Hollywood: Shakespeare in the Studio Era." Cinematic Shakespeare. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004. 86-117. [Also deals with Joseph Mankiewicz's Julius Caesar (1953) and Laurence Olivier's Richard III (1955).]

A4. Barasch, Frances K. "Revisionist Art: Macbeth on Film." University of Dayton Review 14.1 (Winter 1979-80): 15-20. [Compares the adaptations directed by Orson Welles and Roman Polanski (1971).]

A5. Bechervaise, Neil. "Macbeth." Teaching Shakespeare on Screen." "The Film's the Thing." Vancouver: Pacific Educational, 2001.

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