Part of The Loft's month-long series, Much Ado About Shakespeare: A 450th Birthday Celebration!
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“A production that smites the eye with violence and rings with the clang of metal words … pulls the full potential of point and passion from this classic of the stage.” – Bosley Crowther, New York Times
Oscar-winner Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve) directed this exquisite, all-star Hollywood version of Shakespeare's Roman tragedy chronicling the aftermath of Caesar's assassination, featuring a young and brooding Marlon Brando at the peak of his ‘50s star power. Louis Calhern is Julius Caesar, whose conquests have enabled him to rise to the status of Roman dictator. But his ascent to almost God-like status has given pause to influential members of the Roman Senate. They are all “honorable men.” And they are all conspirators bent on murdering the new emperor. To win public support, however, they know they must sway the widely admired Brutus (James Mason) to their cause. Julius Caesar (nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture and a winner for Best B&W Art Direction) remains one of the most widely admired Hollywood adaptations of a Shakespeare play, directed by one of the industry’s most celebrated filmmakers, Joseph L. Mankiewicz (winner of both the Best Director and Best Screenplay Oscars for two films – All About Eve and A Letter to Three Wives). In addition to Louis Calhern and James Mason, the stellar cast also includes John Gielgud as lead conspirator Cassius (later to be at the other end of the dagger playing Caesar in the 1970 movie version), Edmond O’Brien as Casca, Greer Garson as Calpurnia and Deborah Kerr as Portia. And in a celebrated (and controversial) bit of casting, Marlon Brando abandons his then-trademark T-shirt for a toga to give a compellingly intense performance as loyal avenger Antony, in the process garnering his third consecutive Best Actor Oscar nomination (following A Streetcar Named Desire and Viva Zapata!), before finally taking home the statue the following year for On the Waterfront. (Dir. by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1953, USA, 120 mins., Not Rated) Digital