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.
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Brutus, Cassius, and other high-ranking Romans murder Caesar, because they believe his ambition will lead to tyranny. The people of Rome are on their side until Antony, Caesar's right-hand man, makes a moving speech. The conspirators are driven from Rome, and two armies are formed: one side following the conspirators; the other, Antony. Antony has the superior force, and surrounds Brutus and Cassius, but they kill themselves to avoid capture. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
Marlon Brando became good friends with John Gielgud during filming and frequently consulted Gielgud on how to deliver the verse. Gielgud invited Brando to come to London to do a Shakespeare season on the London stage under his direction, but it never happened. See more »
A well-known bust of the Emperor Hadrian is prominently seen during the early dialog between Cassius and Brutus and, later, at Brutus' villa (both Cassius and Portia actually touch them). Hadrian wasn't Emperor for more than 120 years after the time in which the film takes place. See more »
Hence! home, you idle creatures get you home:/ Is this a holiday? what! know you not,/ Being mechanical, you ought not walk/ Upon a labouring day without the sign/ Of your profession? Speak, what trade art thou?
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This production stands as a shining example of how a big Hollywood studio, in this case M-G-M, can make a great Shakespeare film, cast it intelligently, and still end up with box-office names. No less than five Hollywood stars - Marlon Brando, James Mason, Deborah Kerr, Greer Garson, and Edmond O'Brien, are in this film (although two of them have barely five minutes of screen time) and the entire cast gives fine performances.
James Mason, who actually has the leading role of Brutus (despite the fact that Brando gets top billing) is excellent, giving a conscience-stricken, restrained performance--he even LOOKS the way one likes to imagine that Brutus must have looked. Marlon Brando reminds us of what a brilliant actor he once was--for an actor who deliberately stayed away from Shakespeare, his performance is remarkable--and every word he says is understandable. This film was the great John Gielgud's first chance to immortalize one of his great roles on film and to show movie audiences what made him such a renowned Shakespearean actor---his Cassius is full of envy that seems about to boil over any minute. Louis Calhern, a rather hammy villain in other films, is subtly unsympathetic, yet vulnerable as Julius Caesar. The photography is fine and completely unobtrusive---as is the music; director Mankiewicz has filmed the play without resorting to any gimmicks or cheap "Hollywoody" stunts,and the adaptation is so faithful that no one gets on screen credit for it.
Who cares about historical inaccuracies when you can see a great play as well acted as this one?
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