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The Epic That Never Was…

August 1, 2016

Today is Claudius’ birthday.

conradbrunstrom

Laughton

I finally got around to it.  I dug out the extra DVD that came with my box set of Jack Pullman’s BBC adaptation of I Claudius and played it. In 1965, the BBC got Dirk Bogarde to narrate a documentary about the attempt in the late 1930s by Alexander Korda to make a movie of I Claudius by Robert Graves starring Charles Laughton.  We are now rather further from the documentary than the documentary was from the abortive film, giving the documentary a peculiarly distant feel.  Dirk Bogarde is, of course, supremely elegant and seductive as a guide and we meet many of the principles – though not of course Laughton who had died just a few years earlier. Merle Oberon (Messalina) looks as though the intervening 28 years had made no mark on her.  The film was abandoned after she became involved in a near fatal car accident.  Flora…

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