Back in the 1930s, a reporter named Wallace Irwin wrote a hard-boiled mystery novel spoof called THE JULIUS CAESAR MURDER CASE, in which Caesar and his cronies behaved and talked like cut-throat gangsters...which, when you think about it, they were. I kept thinking of Irwin's novel as I watched this black-and-white low-budget oddity from 1950, which was filmed in Chicago at various sites that double quite well for ancient Rome. The look is ancient, but the actor's accents could be straight out of an old James Cagney or Edward G.Robinson gangster movie. With that in mind, this movie provides yet another interesting take on one of the best plays ever written: Shakespeare's Caesar is the first and greatest Godfather of them all.
This movie marks the first of many appearances in loincloth by Charlton Heston (aged 25), who reprised the role of Antony in the 1970s all-star version, and again played Antony in his own movie adaptation of ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA. The role fits him like a glove.
There's also a small appearance by Jeffrey Hunter, who speaks a few lines and has some close-ups as a plebeian in the crowd reacting to the speeches by Brutus and Antony.
All in all, a worthwhile curiosity for anyone interested in pioneering independent film, Shakespeare movies, or the career of Charlton Heston.
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