Julius Caesar (Houseman, 1954)

Sure he’s a great actor, but can he play Shakespeare?

By the time I was old enough to get into “R” movies, The Godfather was over a decade in the rear view mirror, meaning I knew Marlon Brando primarily through The Island of Doctor Moreau and The Freshman.

Question: What do the following actors have in common?: Jack Lemmon, Billy Crystal, Keanu Reeves, Nathan Lane, Robin Williams, Alicia Silverstone.

Answer: They were all exposed trying to do Shakespeare.

Brando was in a Shakespeare film with James Mason and John Geilgud and was still able to command the screen.

Peter Saccio once said that Julius Caeasar is the Shakespeare play we think we all know, since it is introduced to students so early in their academic journey. As a result, we don’t tend to see productions of it. Houseman’s film is an unqualified success–as an acting showcase, as a transfer of Shakespeare to film, and as an entertaining film.

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