Love or Jealousy
Spring 1997; 88 minutes; cast and crew of 11; approximate
cost of $15; rated PG-13.
Love or Jealousy, Tokugawa Pictures' second major
"serious" work (the first being The Escape),
is based on William Shakespeare's play of apparent infidelity,
Othello. (Although this movie also includes short passages
from Hamlet and Macbeth, its plot is that of
The plot? United States Military General Owen promotes Casey
to the rank of Lieutenant, slighting his "faithful servant"
Ian by making him his secretary. Ian, angry at Owen and jealous
of Casey, figures out a plan: he will use the resources of
his wife Emily and his friend Rodger to pull one over on Owen.
He is successful, and manages to make Owen believe that his
wife (Denise) is sleeping ("making the beast with two
backs," in the Bard's wonderful language) with Casey.
As gullible as Owen is concerning the female species, the
General is consumed by such a degree by jealousy that he will
kill his wife. "Do it not with poison," Ian says.
"Strangle her in her bed, even the bed she hath contaminated."
As is typical in Shakespearean tragedy, quite a few people
die: Ian kills his friend and Emily and Owen kills Denise
and himself (upon realizing his wife's innocence). There is
a bit more to the plot than this, but it is (essentially)
the exact same plot as Othello.
Left: Owen (Aaron Hemphill) gets grilled by his lover's father,
Benson (Scott Rubey).
Right: Ian (David Benjamin) plays the game "Othello"
(get it?) with his friend Rodger (Jeff Parker).
Left: Owen interrogates his wife Denise (Clark Kirkman) about
a missing handkerchief while her handmaiden Emily (Becky Parker)
Right: Ian watches Mel (Candace Lovejoy) and Casey (Dan Crane)
Obviously, this was influenced by the play Othello.
It remains essentially the same, except: the title character
is a Jew (not a Moor), it takes place in Portland, Oregon,
and not Cyprus and Venice, a few minor characters are removed,
and all the character names are updated. For instance: Owen=Othello,
Denise=Desdemona, Ian=Iago, Rodger=Roderigo, Casey=Cassio,
Emily=Emilia, Mel=Montano, Benson=Brabantio, and Lane=a combination
of Lodovico and Gratiano.
Nothing new. Like The Escape, this movie was edited
from three hours of raw footage to eighty-eight minutes of
the finished movie on a VCR, but an audio mixer was also used
to improve the sound quality (although it could not fix those
scenes where people did not talk loud enough). This is the
first major Tokugawa Picture to use music from only one source.
Previous movies used mixtures of Weird "Al" Yankovic,
John Williams, James Horner, and Edward Grieg, but this movie
uses only music by the Irish band U2. The songs used are appropriate
to the scenes in which they can be heard:
- "Exit" (The Joshua Tree): used when Ian is getting
really mad at Owen.
- "Acrobat" (Achtung Baby): used when Ian is tricking
- "Elvis Presley and America" (The Unforgettable
Fire): all right, it doesn't apply to the scene, but the
song's lyrics deal with Shakespeare's King Lear.
- "Do You Feel Loved?" (Pop): used ironically
before Ian and Rodger are about to attack (with intent to
- "Love is Blindness" (Achtung Baby): used after
Owen, blind in his love, kills his wife.
While previous Tokugawa movies have employed male actors
as cross-dressers or playing female roles, this is the first
Tokugawa movie to have a serious portrayal of a female character
by a male (Denise) and a male character by a female (Mel,
although this character's gender isn't as crucial to the
plot). The role of Denise raised some interesting issues
in the production of this movie because there are two kissing
scenes, but this was worked out without too much difficulty.
Memorize your lines before the day of filming.
It took hours to get a few minutes on tape because many people
memorized their lines at the last minute (or they forgot them
the night before). Of course, memorizing ahead of time doesn't
mean the delivery will be perfect--people still switched words,
left out entire clauses, and said "Moor" instead of
"Jew" when referring to Owen. (It is hard to get internally
rhymed phrases such as "abhor the Moor" out of one's
SPEAK LOUD!!! (I think this is a lesson found
in most Tokugawa movies, excluding Fuzzywhumple Resurrection,
so whether it is a lesson truly learned is debatable.) Also,
avoid filming by roads and other places with loud ambient noises
unless you are planning to SHOUT.
Just because a Shakespearean scene takes place
in one location does not limit said scene to one location in
a movie production. Movies are different from theatre in that
you can utilize more special effects, sets, locations, music,
etcetera. I really didn't take advantage of the flexibility
provided by the medium in staging the scenes.