This film is part of Free


An animated Moor of Venice brings comedy to Shakespeare’s tragedy, in this cut-out cartoon with some neat tricks up its sleeve

Animation & Artists Moving Image 1920 3 mins Silent


“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy” – cut-out animation is often seen as something of a poor cousin when it comes to cartoon technique, but as this film fragment shows, it has a lot to offer. Anson Dyer produced a series of short animated burlesques of Shakespeare for leading British producer Cecil Hepworth, of which just two appear to survive, with Othello incomplete.

Look at the character’s eyes following the artist’s hand as he finishes his drawing. Or the clever interplay as Dyer brings a match to a drawn candle, blackens a cork on the flame and starts to darken the actor’s face, before passing it to the character to finish off the job himself. These are the cut-out equivalents of Felix the Cat’s tail turning into a question mark or a golf club, or Bugs Bunny messing with Daffy in Duck Amuck (1953).