8 April 2009 | ma-cortes
Prestigious though little known Shakespearean production plenty of American-British stars
This good rendition of the Shakespeare playwright talks about tragedy, ambition, politics, corruption and wars. The film starts in battle of Munda where Julius Caesar(100-40 b.c.) vanquished Pompeyo and terminates in battle of Filipos where the second triumvirate(Marco Antonio, Lepido and Octavius Augustus: Richard Chamberlain) vanquish Brutus and Cassio. Aristocrat party prepares a conspiracy and March 15, 44 b.c -Idus of March- Julius Caesar was assassinated in senate .Remains surprisingly true to Shakespeare's adaptation and working directly from the original, unlike many other historical movies of the same era. The Caesar killing is originally staged including unexpected frames of the murderous washing their hands in the blood of Julius and below of Pompeyo sculpture.
There are magnificent acting from a memorable Charlton Heston as Marco Antonio, an electrifying John Gielgud as Caesar, a sneaky Robert Vaughn as Casca and a splendid Richard Johnson as Cassius, among them. Performances attractive enough extends right down to the minor characters, wealthy of expert character-drawing, as Christopher Lee, Diana Rigg and Andre Morell as Ciceron. Directed with imagination and professionalism by Stuart Burge and well produced by Peter Snell who followed with a sequel also little known 'Marco Antonio and Cleopatra' starred and directed by Charlton Heston.This gripping flick will like to Shakespeare devotees but its spirit is intact in spite of are taken some liberties. It's hard to believe this underrated film did not have success, today is best deemed but contains brilliance of dialogue perfectly played by all-stars. Despite this one turns out to be inferior than classic film 'Julius Caesar(1953)' considered definitely the best version available directed by Joseph L Mankiewicz and starred by top American players as Marlon Brando( similar role Charlton Heston-Marco Antonio), Louis Calhern(John Gielgud-Caesar), Greer Garson(Jill Bennet-Calpurnia),James Mason(Jason Robards-Brutus), Edmond O'Brien(Robert Vaughn-Casca role) among others.