- Trope Namers:
- What Could Have Been:
- Sidney Poitier might have helped his acting career by forestalling his Positive Discrimination backlash in the 1960s if he had accepted an offer to play the title character for a TV movie adaptation. Christopher Plummer (who later played the role on Broadway to much acclaim opposite James Earl Jones) would have served as his Iago.
- James Earl Jones was the director's first choice for The BBC's 1981 TV version, but the British actors' union objected strongly to casting an American in such a high-profile role. In the end, the part went to Anthony Hopkins, with the character presented as being of Arabic, rather than African, descent.
The 1965 film:
- Directed by Cast Member: Subverted. Along with his version of As You Like It, the only Shakespeare adaptation that Laurence Olivier starred in but did not direct.
- Fake Nationality: Laurence Olivier appears in Blackface and speaks with an ambiguously exotic accent.
- Genre Turning Point: Maggie Smith's Silk Hiding Steel portrayal of Desdemona is thought to be the performance that saw the character being Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. Many productions had downplayed her role to focus on Othello and Iago, but Desdemona was given more prominence in productions made afterwards.
- No Budget: They couldn't find a financial backer for the project, so the budget was very low.
- The Other Darrin: Most of the cast carried over from the original stage production. The exceptions were Anthony Nicolls - who replaced Martin Boddey as Brabantio - and Robert Lang replacing Michael Rothwell as Roderigo.
- Recycled Set: As Laurence Olivier's regular backers for his Shakespeare films were dead by the 60s, he had to use enlarged duplicates of the sets in his original staged version.