Othello or Nora are definite, substantial figures created by the playwright. They can be played well or badly, and they can be "interpreted" in one way or another; but they most definitely exist, no matter who plays them or even whether they are played at all. The character in a film, however, lives and dies with the actor. It is not the entity "Othello" interpreted by Robeson or the entity "Nora" interpreted by Duse, it is the entity "Great Garbo" incarnate in a figure called Anna Christie or the entity "Robert Montgomery" incarnate in a murderer who, for all we know or care to know, may forever remain anonymous but will never cease to haunt our memories.
Erwin Panofsky (1892–1968), German-born U.S. art historian, educator. repr. in Film Theory and Criticism, eds. Gerald Mast and Marshall Cohen, Oxford University Press (1974). "Style and Medium in the Moving Pictures," Bulletin of the Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University, Princeton University Press (1934).