And then there's the acting. Welles liked to work with friends and because they were friends and they were all having such fun together he didn't feel able to crack the whip when they were crap. Welles himself is fine, but he stands by himself- one man surrounded by stiffs in funny hats and horsehair wigs. The worst of the stiffs is Michael MacLiammoir's Iago, who flutes and thesps like it's the 1890s and whose body-language is so stage-villainous that it's hard to believe that anyone would ever have believed his lies.
Othello is a two hander. If either of the two principals is inadequate it's not going to work. Welles' tolerance of MacLiammoir's uselessness wrecks the film. No amount of glorious cinematography is going to make up for the hole at its centre. Welles' big speeches are compelling, the murder of Desdemona is an expressionist tour de force, but...but...but...but...but.
Welles was an amateur. He made films for the love of it and walked away when he was bored. His back catalogue is littered with unfinished and badly-finished projects. Othello isn't as mangled as some of his work, but it's still strictly one for the aficianados. If you already love Welles you'll overlook the shortcomings and your heart will go boom-diddy-boom at the bravura touches, but if you don't you'll switch off early- probably, as I was tempted to do, within the first five minutes.