Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Julius Caesar (1953, Joseph L. Mankiewicz)

TitleJulius Caesar
Release LocationsUSA
DirectorJoseph L. Mankiewicz
MediumBlack & white video
Length2 hrs, 1 mins
Audiencegeneral public
Play ConnectionsJulius Caesar (interpretation)


The producer and director decided to recreate the contemporaneous effect of the newsreels, which then enjoyed a great vogue among moviegoers. It was their intention to exploit the huge sets of cinema without in any way diminishing the stature of the actors. Although not quite so lavish as D.W. Griffith's epic Intolerance or the Cecil B. DeMille extravaganzas in Technicolor with a cast of thousands, the sets are nevertheless impressively crammed with the icons and bric-a-brac of ancient Rome. Swarms of hoi polloi jam the streets and statues of the Roman great are lavishly sprinkled about among the moving, living actors in togas. Fortunately the film may soon become available on videocassette so that its really fine qualities will again be readily available. For an informative account of production details, see Pasinetti, P.M., "Julius Caesar: The Role of the Technical Advisor," QFRT 8.2 [1953)]: 131-38; Producer John Houseman also had these comments to make about the film: "For years we have all been admiring Gordon Craig's magnificent theatrical conceptions while regretfully realising that their proportions could never be satisfactorily contained within the restricted framework of our modern proscenium arches. In the motion picture, Julius Caesar, however, we have to a great extent been able to satisfy our hunger for heroic setting. And through the magic power of lens and microphone, registering every syllable and facial expression, no matter how whispered the voice or how intimate the secret thought, the actors and their conflicts are never dwarfed by their surroundings. Rather they gain from the set's great size and their own changing and controlled dramatic relation to it" ("Filming Julius Caesar," SAS, 23 [1953]: 24-27)

Description from Shakespeare on Screen : an International Filmography and Videography by Kenneth S. Rothwell and Annabelle Henkin Melzer. ©1990 Kenneth S. Rothwell. Cited by permission. — Added 2008-11-14

Cast Overview

Julius CaesarLouis Calhern
Mark AntonyMarlon Brando
Octavius CaesarDouglas Watson
LepidusDouglas Dumbrille
CalpurniaGreer Garson
CiceroAlan Napier
PubliusLumsden Hare
Popilius LenaVictor Perry
BrutusJames Mason
CassiusJohn Gielgud
CascaEdmond O'Brien
TreboniusJack Raine
LigariusIan Wolfe
Decius BrutusJohn Hoyt
Metellus CimberTom Powers
CinnaWilliam Cottrell
PortiaDeborah Kerr
FlaviusMichael Pate
MarullusGeorge Macready
ArtemidorusMorgan Farley
SoothsayerRichard Hale
LuciliusRhys Williams
MessalaDayton Lummis
StratoEdmund Purdom
LuciusJohn Hardy
PindarusMichael Ansara
1st CitizenPaul Guilfoyle
Servant To CaesarChester Stratton
CarpenterJohn Doucette
More Citizensnot specified
Servant To AntonyBill Phipps
Officer To OctaviusMichael Tolan

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorJoseph L. Mankiewicz
ProducerJohn Houseman
EditorJohn Dunning
ComposerMiklos Rozsa
Adaptor/TranslatorJoseph L. Mankiewicz
HairSydney Guilaroff
CostumesHerschel McCoy
MakeupWilliam Tuttle
LightingJoseph Rittenberg
ProductionEdward Carfagno
ProductionCedric Gibbons
SetHugh Hunt
SetEdwin B. Willis
Special EffectsWarren Newcombe
Technical AdviserP. M. Pasinetti
Recording SupervisorDouglas Shearer

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell