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I, Claudius (1937)

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The story of the aborted 1937 filming of "I, Claudius", starring Charles Laughton, with all of its surviving footage.

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An adaptation of Robert Graves' 1934 novel, which illustrates the political maneuvering around the fourth emperor of Rome.

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Credited cast:
Emlyn Williams ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Alan Aynesworth ...
Asiatacus, Senator
John Clements ...
Leonora Corbett ...
Roy Emerton ...
Gina Evans ...
Vestal Virgin
Frank Forbes-Robertson ...
Lupus, captain of the guard
Basil Gill ...
Morland Graham ...
Halotus, master of Livia's household
Everley Gregg ...
Domita, Messalina's mother
Allan Jeayes ...


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Also Known As:

Io, Claudio  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In this unfinished film, Charles Laughton plays the Roman emperor Claudius. In The Sign of the Cross (1932) he played Nero, Claudius' great-nephew, adopted son and successor. See more »


According to "The Epic that Never Was", Director Josef von Sternberg asked the Costume Designer John Armstrong to prepare a briefing on the Vestal Virgins for him. Armstrong reported the factual details on the Virgins, that there were about six of them and that they dressed modestly. Von Sternberg told him that would not do for his picture, and instructed him to prepare sixty extras to be Vestal Virgins, in what appear to be bikinis, and Armstrong also provided each a semi-transparent circular veil to cover themselves. The resulting scene is quite striking and beautiful and fits in well with the film's intended "epic" proportions. But it is historically inaccurate, by order of the director. See more »


Claudius: It's good to see y-you're better, Caesar.
Caligula: I haven't been ill. I'm simply undergoing a change. It's the most momentous transformation that any human being has ever achieved. A prophecy is about to be fulfilled. I am being - reborn.
Claudius: I hope your condition is not t-t-too painful.
Caligula: It is painful to be one's own mother. Well, idiot, can't you see any change in me?
Claudius: I was blind not to see it instantly. You're no longer human. May I be the first to worship you, as a g-g-g-god?
Caligula: It took you a long time to ...
See more »


Referenced in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: I, Clownius (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

Sorry we didn't get to see it...
29 November 2007 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

I am a serious fan of Robert Graves' books, the BBC series, and pretty much anything else I can devour about the era of the great Roman Emperors. Every time I rewatch the series (about twice a year), I absolutely MUST watch the documentary about this movie also. I find it quite fascinating, and am left with an unfulfilled longing to watch the entire movie. This is a totally EMOTIONAL response to the documentary, and has absolutely nothing to do with any controversy over the production, which IMHO is exactly what filmmakers want - an EMOTIONAL RESPONSE. Of course the clips we get to see have flaws, have you ever seen unfinished parts of a movie that didn't? (Or even a FINISHED movie, for that matter) I personally believe it is a shame they had someone like von Sternberg involved instead of a director that really cared about the project and was willing to do it justice. Think about it... The director is pretty much the backbone of a movie. If he comes in with the attitude that he's not happy with anything, how can anyone else be happy about what they are doing? I think it had as much potential of becoming a phenomenon as the BBC series.

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