Sorry I’m late, y’all. Meant to do this one this weekend, but I spent it voting and other adult-y things, so this got pushed back to Monday.
There are a number of versions of Julius Caesar out there for you to find and consume, but I’m going to recommend the three major ones. Funnily enough, there’s a lot of overlap between the three productions. Charlton Heston played Antony in two and John Gielgud played Cassius in one and Caesar in another. Only one of them is in color, but that doesn’t really mean shit when one of the black-and-white versions has Marlon Brando as a masterful Antony. It’s the version I immediately think of, actually, and may have seriously colored my mental image of Mark Antony.
I am well aware of the fact that my love for Antony is strange. It, like my love of Alexander Hamilton, is very much a reflection of one or two moments of sheer brilliance shining bright out of a sea of problematic shit. I know this, and I accept it. It is what it is.
Anyway. The first version is from 1950, which is actually the very first version of the play ever filmed in sound. Well, sort of. To save money, it was mostly filmed silently, with the actors going back later and dubbing in the dialogue and stuff. Charlton Heston was basically the only guy paid for the movie, which starred Chicago natives and was filmed in and around the city.
The second version, and the one I most heartily recommend, is the version from 1953, starring James Mason as Brutus, John Gielgud as Cassius, and Marlon Brando as Mark Antony. A lot of people were worried about Brando as Antony as he’d earned something of a reputation for mumbling, but after taking some advice from John Gielgud, he turned in a performance that, to me at least, has never been rivaled. Granted, I’ve never seen the play live, but Brando is Antony to me. I mean… listen to the speech.
Listen to it.
I mean… if you wanted to watch nothing else, watch that. It’s so good. But there’s still another version, the first one filmed in COLOR. WOO. It’s from 1970 and features Charlton Heston as Antony (again) and also has John Gielgud, this time as Caesar. It’s interesting to watch both this and the ’50 version for the Heston comparison, but Moses is no Brando, so… I still recommend 1953.
OK. That’s it for me. A is officially taking over now, and will be doing The Tempest and The Music Man. You’ll see me again in two weeks!