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I, Claudius (film)

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Title: I, Claudius (film)  
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Subject: Claudius, Caligula, Messalina, Charles Laughton, Emlyn Williams, I, Claudius, Merle Oberon, Robert Newton, Josef von Sternberg, Milonia Caesonia
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I, Claudius (film)

I, Claudius
Directed by Josef von Sternberg
Produced by Alexander Korda
Written by Robert Graves
(adapting own novel)
Starring Charles Laughton
Flora Robson
Emlyn Williams
Merle Oberon
Production
company
Release dates 1937 (intended)
Country UK
Language English

I, Claudius is the unfinished 1937 film of the book I, Claudius. It was to have been produced by Alexander Korda, directed by Josef von Sternberg and starring Charles Laughton (as Claudius), Emlyn Williams (as Caligula), Flora Robson (as Livia), and Merle Oberon (as Messalina), but it was dogged by ill circumstances, culminating in a car accident involving Oberon, which caused filming to be abandoned. A further attempt to rescue the footage by incorporating it into The Denham Studio Mystery, a proposed sequel to The Arsenal Stadium Mystery also fell through.

Laughton based his interpretation of Claudius on King Edward VIII and his abdication speech. Other speaking parts included Claudius's servant Narcissus, Claudius's doctor, Senators Sentius and Asiaticus, and soldiers Cassius and Lupus.

The BBC used the existing footage in a 70-minute documentary The Epic That Never Was (1965), hosted by Dirk Bogarde and featuring the opening of Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The documentary is included in the DVD box set of the BBC series I, Claudius, and includes about 25 minutes of original footage from the cancelled film.

Also in the cast were Allan Aynesworth (as Senator Asiaticus) and John Clements (as Valente). Von Sternberg recalled Ralph Richardson having been cast, but Richardson did not agree.

Bibliography

  • John Baxter, "14. The Fall of Claudius", The Cinema of Josef von Sternberg (London: Tantivy Press, 1971), pages 136-149
  • Philip Horne, He was a Premier League Film Director in The Daily Telegraph 5 August 2005 (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/3645546/He-was-a-premier-league-director.html discusses The Denham Studio Mystery)
  • Jon Solomon, The Ancient World in the Cinema: Revised and Expanded Edition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), pages 78–79 ISBN 0-300-08337-8
  • Steve Tucker, "Cursed but a Triumph!", South Wales Echo, December 16, 2005
  • Josef von Sternberg, Fun in a Chinese Laundry, New York: Macmillan, 1965) pages 172-189

External links

  • Keser, Robert (March 2005). "The Epic That Never Was". Senses of Cinema. Archived from the original on 2007-11-01. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  • Hall, Phil (2006-06-21). "Outta Gas – Film Threat's Top 10 Unfinished Films of All Time". Film Threat. Archived from the original on 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2010-02-17. 
  • (6 September 2007)The Guardian"DiCaprio Mooted for 'I, Claudius' Movie",
  • I, Claudius at the Internet Movie Database


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