Julius Caesar (1953)
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
… and Caesar ignoring pleas from his wife Capurnia (Greer Garson) to stay home, given premonitions she’s had:
The death scene itself, with one of the most famous lines in all of history (“Et tu, Brute?”), is well filmed:
… as is Antony’s famous response and speech to the masses: “Friends, Romans, countrymen — lend me your ears!”
Gorgeous Deborah Kerr barely registers as Brutus’s wife Portia — though that’s more a function of the storyline than her character, who essentially disappears:
The remainder of the narrative focuses on vengeance for Caesar’s death, though it’s surprisingly action-free (other than the Battle of Philippi). Viewers will likely be most curious throughout to listen for famous lines of dialogue and turns of phrase, including the following:
Watch for Edmond O’Brien as Casca, who gets to speak the line, “It was Greek to me.”
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
One thought on “Julius Caesar (1953)”
This isn’t among my favorite Shakespeare plays so I was surprised, on a rewatch, that it’s as compelling as it is – and I am in agreement that the first half is stronger.
It’s expected that the English actors would do nicely but impressive that the Americans in the cast hold up their end equally. All members deliver their lines with welcome clarity (which also compensates for the lack of action).
I esp. like Garson and Kerr – who do a lot with the little given them. Mason, as usual, is captivating – but, in general, all of the men are noteworthy.
FFs should be familiar with filmed versions of The Bard’s work, esp. when they are performed with adequate conviction.