Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Charlton Heston's "Friends, Romans, Countrymen."

Julius Caesar. Dir. Stuart Burge. Perf. Charlton Heston, Diana Rigg, Jason Robards, and John Gielgud. 1970. DVD. Republic Paramount, 2006.

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.

The 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.

Here was an Antony. When comes such another?

Links: The Film at IMDB.

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1 comment:

pantaloon said...

"Here was an Antony. When comes such another?" Well, it certainly wasn't Marlon Brando. He gave a bravo performance in On the Waterfront but was out of his depth here. Charlton Heston, on the other hand, is clearly in his element. The calibrated rising intensity level is surely what Shakespeare had in mind. I also liked the clip of Diana Rigg as the wife of Brutus; a strong portrayal of a strong female part. But I have to admit, I couldn't get Emma Peel out of my mind.

Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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