4 April 2010

I, Claudius by von Sternberg, 1937

Filed under: Movies — ktismatics @ 7:10 pm

Starring Charles Laughton…

and Merle Oberon…

directed by Josef von Sternberg…

from the novel by Robert Graves…

the documentary narrated by Dirk Bogarde…

… about a great film that was never made.



  1. Laughton would have been perfect, too bad it wasn’t made. Von Sternberg and Bogarde–nice pics too. Merle Oberon must have been a period piece–do tiny an acting range, I’ve never watched anything but that terrible version of ‘Wuthering Heights’, which is pure idiocy. Even Vivien Leigh can do light, smart comedy, as ‘Caesar and Cleopatra’. Maybe Oberon could do comedy, I don’t know. Von Sternberg sure knew HIS way around, though, god, what an ‘S’. Laughton is always superlative, never saw a single bad performance, love it that he was married to Elsa Lanchester, they must have spent all their time cracking each other up.


    Comment by anonymous — 6 April 2010 @ 12:55 pm

  2. At the time Oberon was married to Alexander Korda, who produced the ill-fated I Claudius and hired the main acting talent before signing von Sternberg on as director. Apparently von Sternberg and Laughton didn’t get on at all, and when Oberon’s chauffeur crashed her through a windscreen it was an excuse to call “cut” and send everyone home. There is some surviving raw footage included in this documentary, and Laughton presents a magnificent oration when named Emperor, transforming himself from abject cripple to imperious Caesar like a racecar driver shifting up through the gears.


    Comment by john doyle — 6 April 2010 @ 1:11 pm

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