Friday, October 14, 2011

1953 Julius Caesar live blog #13

I really liked the last lines in the movie, spoken by Mark Antony about Brutus:

"This was the noblest Roman of them all. All the conspirators save only he, did what they did in envy of great Caesar. He only, in a general honest thought, and common will for all, made one of them. His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that the nature might stand up and say to all the world, 'This was a man.'"

After all the battling and fighting and bloodshed, Mark Antony was able to look at Brutus and know he died an innocent man. He couldn't help doing what he did, because he thought he was doing it to save Rome. He had no ambition of usurping the throne (reminds me of those sly smiles of Mark Antony's...did he have ambition? Was he at fault more than Brutus, and was he able to recognize that?).

In the movie, next to Brutus' head was a lit oil lamp. Right before "The End" title comes on the screen, the flame is snuffed out. What does that mean? Merely that Brutus is dead? Or that the uproar of Rome has finally turned to peace? Or that Brutus' legend is not timeless and will eventually be snuffed out and that history will forget him?


One last note about the movie in general: it's interesting to me that the one Oscar it won in 1953 was for best art direction (for a black & white movie). To me, the set actually seemed basic and not extraordinary. Maybe I'm used to bigger-budget movies, but other than the large spaces the movie was able to fill I didn't feel like the scenery was anything too special.


  1. You've mentioned Mark Antony's 'smiles' a few times; I would be interested in being more convinced as to why he was smiling. I think you've inferred that something mischievous has been going on behind his smiles. But what was the context? Is there anything besides his smile that makes us think he's got some sort of agenda?

  2. Yeah, I didn't get into it very much because I was trying to blog and watch the movie as fast as I could, haha. And I was able to turn in the movie just before the LRC closed!

    Anyway, I think I would be able to draw more inferences from reading the play and paying attention 100%. But I think maybe, even though he had a public image of being pure and noble, Mark Antony did enjoy his new power and control. I think that's maybe why he was able to say those last lines: he recognized that he himself had faults and "vain ambitions," while Brutus really did just do what he thought was best.

    I'll get back to you after I read the play though.

  3. That'd be great, my first and only impression of Mark Antony was in my sophomore year in high school, and I didn't really remember that part of him. Have a great weekend.