Othello Was A ‘Maddening’ Film For Orson Welles To Make

“[E]verybody had to go home until I could earn some more or find some more,” Welles said. He continued, saying: 

“In fact, we stayed a little longer by virtue of a fellow who arrived and arranged for sales of the film for some strange countries like the Dutch East Indies and Turkey … places like that. We got together about $6,000 or $7,000 and stayed on a week or two more, thanks to him. And I gave him a role in the film. He wasn’t an actor and he’s very poor in it, but he was a big help in getting us the money.” 

Welles does not say which actor it was, so it will have to remain in the realm of speculation. When the money ran out again, actors began leaving production to take other jobs until more funding could be secured. Notably, Liammóir, his Iago, and Hilton Edwards, his Brabantio, returned to their native Ireland together (the two were boyfriends) to act in various theater productions. Once more funding was secured, Welles had to wait and wait and wait until everyone was free again. 

Ultimately, shooting took about three years to complete. Welles said:

“So, even when I got the money, I had to wait until my actors were free, which made a long wait even longer than it took me to get the money. And when they were free, we went back again to Africa and then to Italy, where we shot all over the place and finished it. But that began the story of how long it takes me to make a movie. You know: ‘Look at him — even on his own pictures, it takes him over three years to finish it.'”

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