The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar but they have both sorel... Read allThe growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.
Caesar is enjoying more praise than ever when he returns to Rome after defeating Pompey. During a victory celebration Caesar attends with his most trusted allies Cassius (John Gielgud) and Brutus (James Mason) he is warned by a Soothsayer to beware the Ides of March. Caesar ignores the warning and goes about the celebration unknowing that conversations are taking place regarding his rise to power. They believe Caesar to be untrustworthy and think he will become a tyrant. Fueled by lies and anger, a plot is masterminded to murder Caesar. On the 15th day of March, Caesar prepares to go to the senate, his wife Calpurnia (Greer Garson) begs him not to go due to a vivid dream she had in which Caesar was murdered. Caesar scoffs and goes anyway, being warned by another Soothsayer along the way. Ignoring this second warning, Caesar makes his way to the senate where the conspirators circle him and begin to stab him one by one. Upon seeing his dear friend Brutus among the murderers, Caesar succumbs to his wounds and dies. Mark Antony (Marlon Brando), who was led away from Caesar on the fateful day under false pretenses, joins with Caesar's adopted son and successor, Octavius (Douglass Watson) to avenge his death. They achieve their goal with Cassius and Titinius (John Parrish) being killed in the war that ensues, leaving only Brutus left alive of the conspirators. Seeing death as inevitable, Brutus kills himself and is pardoned by Octavius as acting, in what he believed, to be the best course of action for Rome.
Audiences are immediately engaged in the film from the very beginning. A gripping speech in the opening scene catapults the audience to ancient Rome, bringing it alive through the production design mimicking Roman architecture and language. For one, Caesar dies at almost exactly halfway through the film. I personally love a movie that will throw the audience for a loop by killing off its main character. Of course, being familiar with the play Julius Caesar, I knew he would be killed, but I did not know he would be killed so early on, leaving half the film to deal with the aftermath of his murder. Likewise, Marlon Brando's Mark Antony was hardly in the first half of the movie; being a fan of Brando's I was initially disappointed about this, however, he more than makes up for his absence with a strong second act. The costumes and production designs were an absolute treat, recreating ancient Rome, and making me feel like I had gladiator sandals on. The film was more than deserving of the Oscar it received that year for Art Direction (encompassing set decoration). I am shocked however that it wasn't even nominated for a statuette in the Costume Design category. The ghost Caesar that haunted Brutus was a directorial feat considering the time in which the picture was filmed. Its looming presence agonized Brutus, leading him to believe that Caesar was not at rest. The film was a stunning achievement of its time and one that I recommend be enjoyed by all. Personally, I have a yearly tradition of watching this film every year on the Ides of March and it has yet to get old.
- Mar 16, 2016