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 Post subject: Julius Caesar 1970
PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:37 pm 
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Prince Judah
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There is a thread on JULIUS CAESAR(1950), but none on the 1970 version starring Chuck as Mark Antony. David Bradley's 1950 version was a sort of amateur, semi-theatrical , low-budget production, though it is valuable in its own category. The 1970 version is a full-fledged movie, with wonderful performance from Chuck and John Gielgud , but unfortunately this movie is underrated.
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Plot: Should I mention it at all? The same story from Shakespeare's great play, of conspiracy against and murder of Caesar by the Republicans, among whom there is the idealist Brutus who loves Caesar as a man, but is not comfortable with Caesar's absolutionist politics. Now Mark Antony takes control over the chaotic situation in Rome by his military power as a well as by shrewdness, and helps Augustus to win against the conspirators . Caesar's revenge is executed after is death.

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 Post subject: Re: Julius Caesar 1970
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:25 pm 
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I see this new thread is left with no reply, so let me inaugurate with a blog-review. The blogger's approach is not very serious-- I mean, according to the way of writing a Shakespearean movie-review. But it captures some aspects of the movie, in interesting terms.

" Although the idea of Charlton Heston playing classical roles always inspires trepidation, Heston is quite potent as Marc Anthony in this lusty adaptation of the Shakespeare classic. Instead, it’s the usually impeccable Jason Robards, playing treacherous senator Brutus, who underwhelms. Whereas one might expect Heston’s distinctly American persona to be an impediment in this milieu, his flamboyance fits the grandeur of Shakespearean English; conversely, Robards’ internalized moodiness is too quiet for director Stuart Burge’s muscular approach to the text. Screenwriter Robert Furnival hacked a few passages from the play, shortening the running time and making room for flourishes like an elaborate battlefield finale, but the core of the piece is intact. In 44 B.C., Roman emperor Julius Caesar (John Gielgud) cements his power through military victories, sparking fears among senators like Brutus, Casca (Robert Vaughn), and Cassius (Richard Johnson) that Caesar will seize absolute control. Brutus and his fellow conspirators murder Caesar, triggering a civil war between the conspirators and forces led by Caesar’s best friend, Marc Anthony.
Burge gives the picture a standard sword-and-sandals look, with extras in flowing robes flitting across soundstages crammed with columns and staircases, so the piece doesn’t really take flight until Burge moves onto location for the climactic battle. That said, he builds an insistent pace and employs enough movement in his blocking to avoid filling the screen with long stretches of static talking heads. Plus, with its scenes of assassination and civil unrest, it’s not as if Julius Caesar lacks for inherent drama. Among the supporting cast, the standouts are Geilgud, bitchy and grandiose as a leader drunk on adulation; Johnson and Vaughn, calculating and cruel as men whose ambition trumps their loyalty; and Diana Rigg, sexy and sly as Brutus’ wife. Ultimately, however, the movie hinges on the interplay between Brutus and Marc Anthony. Robards seems uninterested throughout most of the picture, though his performance gains vigor after the assassination, but Heston is on fire from beginning to end. Clearly relishing the chance to play one of the great roles, Heston attacks monologues with the same animalistic energy he usually brings to the physical aspect of his performances, so he’s magnetic even though his performance choices are obvious and simplistic."

http://every70smovie.blogspot.in/2012/0 ... -1970.html

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 Post subject: Re: Julius Caesar 1970
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 4:47 pm 
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Tizzy and Judah, since the two of you often find these great blogs with reviews and such of Heston movies, I think it would be great if you'd leave a comment for the blogger, mentioning that you're a fan and that you intend to put some of the bloggers writings here on the forum. I think that could interest them and perhaps they'd join us here at the forum.

What do you guys think?

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 Post subject: Re: Julius Caesar 1970
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:12 pm 
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O dear, we tried it already. There was a French site, from which I asked Judah to translate, and he did it under the translation thread in General discussions. I also made him to send a comment to the blogger in majestic French. But no result. He told me that he also tries to inform people about our forums. But nobody has joined at his request, and he thinks that he is such a bad invitor that people don't care Yet we'll try again whenever possible.

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 Post subject: Re: Julius Caesar 1970
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:56 pm 
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:lol: Well, getting people to join a forum can be quite a task. I appreciate both your efforts :cowboy1:

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 Post subject: Re: Julius Caesar 1970
PostPosted: Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:51 am 
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I received the new DVD of this film today Image and watched most of it as I write this. It's a widescreen picture, a vast improvement over the older 4:3 DVD version which I also have. The picture on the new DVD is very sharp - so much so that I could see almost too much detail in some scenes, such as the faces of actors who may have needed a bit more make-up :lol: - it's as if the film transfer on this one was overdone, revealing too much film grain and unwelcome detail. But, the widescreen composition really is needed for some of the panoramic scenes, notably the later battle scenes.

And, it's definitely the ideal way to view this film, as it stands now. It's well known now that Jason Robards as Brutus receives the lion's share of negative reviews for his performance; in this, I agree. His acting is robotic, empty. I don't really know why this is, since he's been fine in his many other film roles, but the rumor is that he was drunk during this film shoot, which may explain it. The ones who come off best are Richard Johnson and Robert Vaughn as the two main conspirators, Cassius and Casca. They emphasize Shakespearean passion - the bloody kind.

John Gielgud is also a well respected actor and does a good job as Caesar, but I did have a problem with him. In this story, Caesar is presented as so potent and powerful that it takes about 20 knife thrusts to finally kill him (in the assassination scene, he still staggers around on his feet after multiple knife wounds). Physically, Gielgud looked like he would fall down dead after one knife stab.

Heston does fine as Mark Antony - robust, powerful - in his 2nd try on film (after the 1950 effort). His Antony is more of a schemer and plotter compared to other versions. Brando's 1953 version gets a lot of praise, but (from what I recall), his Antony was more standard heroic and, therefore, more bland. His was a fifties version, though, of a different time. In this 1970 version, Antony is just another schemer along with Caesar's assassins; they just happen to be on different sides. It adds to all the intrigue - and Heston reveals this devious nature to his character only after the assassination.

It was startling to see a very young Richard Chamberlain as Octavius/Augustus; he appears late in the film and his scenes with Heston are actually among the best in the film.


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 Post subject: Re: Julius Caesar 1970
PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 4:39 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Just found a small but nice blog-review on JULIUS CAESAR. I am quoting relevant portions from it, but those who are interested in Shakespeare's film-adaptations, may have a look at the site as well. http://bardfilm.blogspot.in/2011_04_01_archive.html

Quote:
"While Jason Robards' performance as Brutus leaves much to be desired, Charlton Heston's Mark Anthony is phenomenal. When it comes to the speech over Caesar's body, I've never seen anything to match this one. Heston's Mark Anthony knows the power he has over the crowd of Romans at his feet, and he also knows what chaos is about be unleashed with his words. He regrets it, but he thinks it's inevitable.

he tearing of the toga is quite theatrical, as is the sudden display of Caesar's body, but the self-reflexivity of the moment allows us to be caught up in the horror Mark Antony reveals while seeing it from the distance of time and audience.

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Quote:
Here was an Antony. When comes such another?

I've seldom seen such masterful acting paired with such pitiful acting. The scene is Act II, scene 1, in which Portia pleads with Brutus to share the burdens he carries with her—so that his load may be lightened. Diana Rigg plays her role brilliantly, with sensitivity and understanding, conveying a wide range of emotions. Jason Robards, on the other hand, seems to be phoning it in on a bad connection to a wrong number.

I don't wish to be cruel, but the gap between the two levels of acting here really is remarkably wide. What can account for such disparity?
...

Update (1 August 2012): I've been doing some work on film versions of Julius Caesar recently, and I dipped into Kenneth Rothwell's truly remarkable History of Shakespeare on Screen (for which, q.v.), where I learned at least two interesting things about this film.

1. Orson Welles had been asked to play Brutus in this film: "He was . . . called to play Brutus in the Burge / Snell Julius Caesar (1970), but for obscure reasons had to be replaced at the eleventh hour by Jason Robards, Jr." (89). The world lost something wondrous with that change—so quick bright things come to confusion.

2. Robards' performance could be read as deliberate instead of merely uninspired:

Apparently Jason Robards' low-key performance stemmed from his interpretation of Brutus as an intellectual suppressing his emotions after being traumatized by his entanglement in a political assassination. . . Robards speaks the lines [of Brutus' soliloquy] as if he "lacked affect" (in the psychological sense), totally flat and uninflected. Besides covering up any sign of emotion, Robards also conceived in some high-minded way that "rehearsing in movies should be done just before takes. Then those small spontaneous things can be retained." (154-55)

In this view, it's not awful acting; instead, it's terrible decision-making that is at the back of it. It doesn't make the acting any better, but it helps to explain how an actor who can play other roles quite well failed in this performance.

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 Post subject: Re: Julius Caesar 1970
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:21 am 
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Prince Judah
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Heston's 1970 Antony speech (Caesar's funeral) side-by-side with Brando's in the 1953 version:



As noted elsewhere, Mark Antony was close to 40 years of age at this time; Brando was not quite 30 when he
played the role. Heston was about 46 in the 1970 version.


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 Post subject: Re: Julius Caesar 1970
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:45 pm 
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Interesting comparing the two. Also interesting to note is that Brando got an Oscar nomination for his performance while Heston, as we all know, didn't. Brando was on a roll back then though, scoring four nominations in as many years.

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 Post subject: Re: Julius Caesar 1970
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:47 am 
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Prince Judah
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Maybe the one who should have won some award is William Shatner
- his rendition is truly in another dimension: :lol:


I may as well throw in Heston's old 1950 performance into the mix here -- might as well compare that one, too.

Seriously, though, Shatner's version is truly one-dimensional, if one can call reading the lines
in as boring a manner as possible other dimensional. I was really surprised by Shatner's take
on this famous scene here (can't remember where or when he did this - obviously looks like
from the sixties or seventies) - Shatner is usually known for overdoing it; here he really underplays
it like he's half-asleep or distracted; later in the scene, he gets a bit hysterical - a very eccentric
performance -- it really shows that Heston and Brando had a better method for this role,
whereas Shatner's is unintentionally comical. (But that's not really a surprise, is it?) ;)


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