Restored Orson Welles Classics Set As Venice Pre-Opening Screenings

The Venice film festival will dedicate a pair of “pre-opening” screenings to Orson Welles, the centennial of whose birth is celebrated this year.

It will play two of Welles’ ‘Venetian masterpieces’: his 1969 version of “The Merchant of Venice,” and his 1951 production of “Othello.”

Screenings will be held on Sept. 1 in the Sala Darsena (Palazzo del Cinema) on the Lido di Venezia.

The presentation will feature a live performance by the Orchestra Classica di Alessandria, of the original unpublished score for “The Merchant of Venice,” by the late Angelo Francesco Lavagnino who scored the music for most of Welles’ ‘Shakespearean’ films. The score, originally written for the unfinished film, has been specifically transcribed from the only performance recorded at the time, and has never previously been performed in public.

Both presentations are of restored movies. “The Merchant Of Venice” (pictured) was reconstructed and restored by Filmmuseum Muenchen and Cinemazero, from a 30 minute film previously considered to have been lost.

The original, full-length, Italian-language version of “Othello” (aka “Otello,” 96 minutes), was restored by CSC – Cineteca Nazionale in Rome. A shorter version in English was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1952, and won the Grand Prix.

The 72nd edition of Venice will run September 2-12

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