Archive for June 2013

Julius Caesar, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1953)

June 19, 2013

Who made the salad?
Caesar made the salad!
– Old ad

This film, at 60, is nearly as venerable as the play itself. A third generation of schoolkids is being assigned to watch it, now on streaming video. The ancient black-and-white is the medium’s translation of marble monuments. But the blood on the conspirators’ garments could just be sweat stains.

With nearly all of Act Four cut, and much of Act Five, the oration of Mark Antony is the center of the piece, and all the energy dissipates after Brando’s “When comes such anothaaaaaa?!!” Brando’s bare chest enticed the masses on the movie poster, but John Gielgud as Cassius is the noblest actor of them all.

Although getting on, Greer Garson is still every bit the matinee idol as Calpurnia and matches well with Deborah Kerr’s Portia. There should be more films with women in togas.

Latin America