Essaouira Mogador is a town at the Atlantic coast of Morocco

En langue française



In 1952, the film Othello won the Palme d´Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Orson Welles

Several other film directors, have utilised Essaouira's photogenic and atmospheric qualities.

  • Movies filmed on location Essaouira


Orson Welles

Orson Welles

From 1949 to 1951, Welles worked on Othello, filming on location in Europe and Morocco.

"A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet"


Orson Welles

In the early fifties, the film director and actor Orson Welles stayed in Essaouira filming his classic version of Othello which contains several memorable scenes shot in the labyrinthine streets and alleys of the medina.

Orson Welles is acting as Othello

The opening shot of the film pans the full length of the Scala, the great sea bastion running along the northern cliffs of the town.

OTHELLO by Orson Welles - NYC trailer

See also The Scala of the Kasbah

".....I gathered together my actors and Trauner and my Italian crew, and away we went to Mogador to shoot it. We arrived in this condemned area — a little-known, out-of-the-way port on the Atlantic coast of Morocco — and everybody checked into hotels. Two days later, we got a telegram says the costumes wouldn't come because they hadn't been completed. A day later a telegram came saying that hadn't been started. And then a telegram came saying that Scalera had gone bankrupt. So I had a company of fifty people in North Africa and no money — though we had film and we had our cameras — but how can you shoot Othello without costumes?.....
From In which Orson Welles shoots Othello in Mogador (External link)

Orson Welles directing at the Scala in Mogador

Orson Welles directing at Scala the Kasbah Mogador

A funny Anecdote from Orson Welles in Mogador (Essaouira)


orson Welles Othello Poster

Otello - Essaouira

Otello at Scala the Kasbah

Poster of the film Otelo

The Orson Welles memorial

Orson Welles´ square

Orson Welles's bust is located in a small square just outside the medina walls close to the sea.

Locate this sight on the Map of Essaouira Medina

Orson Welles memory Inauguration ,24 september 1992 by  His Royal  Highness  Crown Prince Sidi Mohammed (Mohammed III)
It is in a neglected state being covered in bird poop, graffiti and with a broken nose. In addition, the dedication plaques has been stolen.
Inauguration the 24 september 1992 by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Sidi Mohammed (Mohammed VI)

Orson Welles

May 2011

Orson Welles Memory plaque

Orson Welles place

March 2012

The Orson Welles square 2022

The Orson Welles square 2022

Orson Welles stayed at Hotel des Iles (built in 1948 by Antoine Marchisio) and in this hotel there is a bar and a suite named after him. It is said that he met Winston Churchill there, who also was a guest at the hotel at that time.

Hotel des Iles

Hotel des Iles
built in 1948 by Antoine Marchisio *

"During this time, Welles was channeling his money from acting jobs into a self-financed film version of Shakespeare's play Othello. From 1949 to 1951, Welles worked on Othello, filming on location in Europe and Morocco.
Filming was suspended several times as Welles ran out of funds and left to find other acting jobs. When it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival it won the Palme d'Or, 1952, but was not given a general release in the United States until 1955."

Hotel des Iles Essaouira in the 1960th

Hotel des Iles with the Bab Marrakech Bastion
Old Postcard

Maréchal Juin Resident General in Morocco (1947 - 1951) visited Mogador the 4th of May 1951 and inaugurated Hotel des Iles.

* La Mamounia, situated in the old city of Marrakech, is the most storied of grand hotels in Morocco. Designed by Henri Prost and Antoine Marchisio. It opened in 1923 in the nearly 20-acre garden given to Prince Moulay Mamoun by his father, Sultan Mohammed III, as an 18th-century-style wedding gift.

Sources fran├žaises:

Essaouira avec Orson Welles (France Inter)




Orson Welles

External links

Orson Welles (WIKI)

Othello film 1952

In which Orson Welles
shoots Othello in Mogador

movie database

The Tragedy of Othello:
The Moor of Venice (1952)

Orson Welles (IMDb)

La Mamonia