Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Julius Caesar

Gaius Julius Caesar (100 BC – 44 BC) was a Roman general, statesman, Consul, and notable author of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. Caesar's conquest of Gaul, completed by 51 BC, extended Rome's territory to the English Channel and the Rhine. Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both when he built a bridge across the Rhine and conducted the first invasion of Britain.

These achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse the standing of Pompey, who had realigned himself with the Senate after the death of Crassus in 53 BC. With the Gallic Wars concluded, the Senate ordered Caesar to lay down his military command and return to Rome. Caesar refused, and marked his defiance in 49 BC by crossing the Rubicon with a legion, leaving his province and illegally entering Roman territory under arms. Civil war resulted, from which he emerged as the unrivaled leader of Rome.

Although Cleopatra was 21 years old when they met and Caesar was 52, they became lovers during Caesar’s stay in Egypt between 48 BC and 47 BC. Cleopatra claimed Caesar was the father of her son and wished him to name the boy his heir, but Caesar refused, choosing his grandnephew Octavian instead. Cleopatra visited Rome in the summer of 46 BC. The Egyptian queen resided in one of Caesar's country houses. The relationship between Cleopatra and Caesar was obvious to the Roman people and it was a scandal because the Roman dictator was already married to Calpurnia Pisonis.

On the Ides of March 44 BC, Caesar was assassinated by a group of senators led by Marcus Brutus. A new series of civil wars broke out, and the constitutional government of the Republic was never restored. Caesar's adopted heir Octavian, later known as Augustus, rose to sole power, and the era of the Roman Empire began. [Wikipedia]

Fritz Lieber as Julius Caesar and Theda Bara as Cleopatra (1917), directed by J. Gordon Edwards. One of the great 'lost' films of the silent era, only a few seconds of footage and some stills survive.

Cleopatra (1934) produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Claudette Colbert as the Queen of Egypt, Warren William as Caesar and Henry Wilcoxon as Mark Antony. Nominated for 5 Oscars including Best Picture, winning for Best Cinematography. 100mins.

Cleopatra: Together we could conquer the world. 
Julius Caesar: Nice of you to include me.

Caesar and Cleopatra (1945) directed by Gabriel Pascal, screenplay by George Bernard Shaw and based on his play, starring Claude Rains as Caesar, Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra, Stewart Granger as Apollodorus and Flora Robson as Ftatateeta. 138mins.

The most expensive British film at the time. Oscar nomination for Art Direction.

Louis Calhern as Julius Caesar (1953) directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, also starring Marlon Brando as Mark Antony, James Mason as Brutus, John Gielgud as Cassius, Greer Garson, Deborah Kerr and Edmond O' Brien. Nominated for 5 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor (Brando), winning for Best Art Direction. 120mins.

Mark Antony: Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar.

John Gavin as Julius Caesar in Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus (1960), starring Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov and Tony Curtis. One of the highest rated historical epics, Spartacus was nominated for 6 Oscars winning 4 - Best Supporting Actor (Ustinov), Cinematography, Art Direction and Costume Design. 197mins,

Caesar: Did you fear him, Crassus? 
Crassus: Not when I fought him, I knew he could be beaten. But now I fear him, even more than I fear you. 
Caesar: Me? 
Crassus: Yes, my dear Caesar, you.

Caesar the Conqueror (1962) an Italian film starring Cameron Mitchell as Caesar, Rik Battaglia, Dominique Wilms and Bruno Tocci. 104mins.

Cleopatra (1963) directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and starring Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, Richard Burton as Mark Antony and Rex Harrison as Julius Ceasar. The production was plagued with problems and took years to finish, costing $44m Cleopatra was the most expensive movie ever made and the top grossing film of 1963 but 20th Century Fox wouldn’t see any profit from the debacle until television sales in the early seventies. 248mins.

Nominated for 9 Oscars – Best Picture, Best Actor (Rex Harrison), Best Music Score (Alex North), Best Editing, Best Sound and winning for Art Direction, Costume Design, Cinematography and Visual Effects.

Cleopatra: How DARE you and the rest of your barbarians set fire to my library? Play conqueror all you want, mighty Caesar! Rape, murder, pillage thousands, even millions of human beings! But neither you nor any other barbarian has the right to destroy one human thought! 
Caesar: You... a descendant of generations of inbred, incestuous mental defectives, how dare you call anyone barbarian!

Julius Caesar: "Infamy, infamy! They've all got it in for me!"

Carry on Cleo (1964) directed by Gerald Thomas and starring Sidney James as Mark Antony, Kenneth Williams as Julius Caesar and Amanda Barrie as Cleopatra, also starring Kenneth Connor, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims and Jim Dale. 92mins.

Gerald Thomas (1920-1993) directed all 31 'Carry On' comedies.

Mark Antony: "Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war."

John Gielgud as Julius Caesar (1970) directed by Stuart Burge, based on Shakespeare's play. Also starring Charlton Heston as Mark Antony, Jason Robards as Marcus Brutus, Robert Vaughn, Richard Chamberlain, Richard Johnson, Diana Rigg and Christopher Lee. 117mins.

Alec Guinness as Caesar in the TV movie Caesar and Cleopatra (1976) directed by James Cellan Jones, also starring Genevieve Bujold as Cleopatra. 75mins.

Karl Urban played Julius Caesar in a number of episodes of the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001) the series starred Lucy Lawless as Xena and Renee O' Connor as Gabrielle.

Cleopatra (1999) a made for TV movie directed by Franc Roddam and starring Timothy Dalton as Julius Caesar, Leonor Varela as Cleopatra and Billy Zane as Mark Antony. 177mins.

Nominated for 4 Emmy Awards.

Ciaran Hinds as Gaius Julius Caesar in the Emmy award-winning TV series Rome (2005-2207) created by Bruno Heller, John Milius and William J. MacDonald. Starring Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker, Kerry Condon and James Purefoy.

The series lasted 2 seasons and 22 episodes.

Alain Delon as Caesar in Asterix at the Olympic Games (2008) directed by Frederic Forestier & Thomas Langmann, based on characters from the Asterix comic book series by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. Starring Gerard Depardieu as Obelix and Clovis Comillac as Asterix. 116mins.

Christopher Plummer as the Roman Emperor in Caesar and Cleopatra (2009) a Canadian film directed by Des McAnuff and based on the play by George Bernard Shaw. Also starring Nikki James as Cleopatra. 130mins.

Spartacus: War of the Damned (2013) TV series directed by Mark Beesley, starring Liam McIntyre as Spartacus, Manu Bennett, Dustin Clare, Daniel Feuerriegel, Cynthia Addai-Robinson and Todd Lasance as Caesar.

'War of the Damned' is the third season of Spartacus, the first season subtitled 'Blood and Sand' premiered in 2010 and starred the late Andy Whitfield, the second 'Gods of the Arena' premiered in 2011.

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