1965 – Othello

★★★★☆ UK. 2h45m. Drama. Directed by Stuart Burge. Written by William Shakespeare (“Othello”). Cinematography by Geoffrey Unsworth. Edited by Richard Marden. Music by Richard Hampton. Starring Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Joyce Redman, Frank Finlay, Derek Jacobi, Robert Lang, Kenneth Mackintosh, Anthony Nicholls, Sheila Reid, Edward Hardwicke, Michael Gambon.

Starred Laurence Olivier, Maggie Smith, Joyce Redman, and Frank Finlay, who all received Oscar nominations, and provided film debuts for both Derek Jacobi and Michael Gambon. The film retains most of Shakespeare’s original play, and does not change the order of scenes, as do Olivier’s Hamlet and Richard III. The only major omission is the Fool’s scene, although other minor lines are cut here and there (the stage version contained more of the play than the film did).

1955 – Richard III

★★★★☆ UK. 2h41m. Drama. Directed by Laurence Olivier. Written by Laurence Olivier (screenplay) and Colley Cibber, David Garrick (story) and Willilam Shakespeare (“Richard III”). Cinematography by Otto Heller. Edited by Helga Cranston. Music by William Walton. Starring Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Claire Bloom, Cedric Hardwicke, John Gielgud, Laurence Naismith, Norman Wooland.

Depicts Richard plotting and conspiring to grasp the throne from his brother King Edward IV. In the process, many are killed and betrayed, with Richard’s evil leading to his own downfall. The prologue of the film states that history without its legends would be “a dry matter indeed”, implicitly admitting to the artistic licence that Shakespeare applied to the events of the time.