Welles' sixth feature (made directly after his avant-garde Macbeth) was shot in fits and starts over a period of four years, on a dozen locations in Morocco and Italy, often without money. Naturally, Welles turned the limitations into strengths. When the costumes didn't show up, he filmed in a Turkish bath. When an actor couldn't make it, he used a stand-in and changed his camera angle. When challenged to match footage shot in Mogador and Venice, he contrived dazzling webs of montage. This is Shakespeare filmed with love and powerhouse enthusiasm, never with reverence. The visual rhetoric is synchronised with the verbal imagery: they hit sensory overload together. A very great film noir.
Cast and crew