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The mini-series follows the history of the Roman Empire, from approximately the death of Marcellus (24/23 BC) to Claudius' own death in 54 AD. As Claudius narrates his life, we witness Augustus' attempts to find an heir, often foiled by his wife Livia who wants her son Tiberius to become emperor. We also see the conspiracy of Sejanus, the infamous reign of Caligula, and Claudius' own troubled period of rule. Written by
Erika Grams <email@example.com>
Based on Robert Graves' famous novel, I, CLAUDIUS is the ultimate soap opera, vicious, cruel, manipulative--and this famous English miniseries grabs the attention and holds fast throughout the entire length of its complex tale of ancient intrigue.
The great strengths of I, CLAUDIUS are in the driving pace, sharp wit, and ferocity of Jack Pulman's script and the host of brilliant performers who play it out. Chief among these are Sian Phillips as the calculating, murderous, and unspeakably cold Livia, wife of Augustus; although Derek Jacobi gives a justly famous performance in the title role, it is Phillips who dominates and drives the story with this, the most brilliant performance of her career. But this is not to disparage the overall cast, which is remarkably fine and includes such noted artists as Brian Blessed, John Hurt, Patricia Quinn, Patrick Stewart, and a host of others.
Like the serpent that appears in the open credits, the story twists and winds--and covers several generations of the ruling family as Rome slips from the republic to royal rule, largely due to the manipulations of Livia, who has few if any scruples in her determination to rule first through her husband and then through her son. Although the look of the film is somewhat dated, it in no way impairs the power of the piece, and I, CLAUDIUS remains one of the handful of miniseries that actually improves upon repeated viewings. Strongly, strongly recommended.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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