I, Claudius (1937)

The life and times of the Roman emperor Claudius (10 B.C.-A.D. 54).

Writer:

Robert Graves (book)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Charles Laughton ... Claudius
Merle Oberon ... Messalina
Emlyn Williams ... Caligula
Flora Robson ... Livia
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Allan Aynesworth Allan Aynesworth ... Asiatacus, Senator (as Alan Aynesworth)
John Clements John Clements ... Valente
Leonora Corbett Leonora Corbett ... Caesonia
Roy Emerton Roy Emerton ... Octavius
Gina Evans Gina Evans ... Vestal Virgin
Frank Forbes-Robertson Frank Forbes-Robertson ... Lupus, captain of the guard
Basil Gill ... Xenophon, Claudius' doctor
Morland Graham Morland Graham ... Halotus, master of Livia's household
Everley Gregg ... Domita, Messalina's mother
Lyn Harding ... Vespasian
Allan Jeayes Allan Jeayes ... Musa, the emperor's physician
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Storyline

The life and times of the Roman emperor Claudius (10 B.C.-A.D. 54).

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Also Known As:

Io, Claudio See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Josef von Sternberg claimed that Ralph Richardson was in the cast, but Richardson later denied it. See more »

Goofs

According to "The Epic that Never Was", Director Josef von Sternberg asked the Costume Designer John Armstrong to prepare a briefing on the Vestal Virgins for him. Armstrong reported the factual details on the Virgins, that there were about six of them and that they dressed modestly. Von Sternberg told him that would not do for his picture, and instructed him to prepare sixty extras to be Vestal Virgins, in what appear to be bikinis, and Armstrong also provided each a semi-transparent circular veil to cover themselves. The resulting scene is quite striking and beautiful and fits in well with the film's intended "epic" proportions. But it is historically inaccurate, by order of the director. See more »

Quotes

Caligula: Grandmother, you remember my dear Uncle Claudius who prefers the society of pigs to that of the court?
Livia: I have asked Claudius to be present at these ceremonies, and to be my guest at dinner tonight.
Caligula: But grandmother, think of his table manners.
Livia: Be silent, you impudent puppy. You take your uncle for a fool, but he's not. I sometimes think he pretends to be one, so as to make fools of us. Far from being a fool, he's the last decent man left alive in Rome. One can rely on him. If he makes a promise ...
[...]
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Connections

Edited into The Epic That Never Was (1965) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Laughton vs Von Sternberg: Genius vs Tyrant
30 April 2007 | by PatFilmSee all my reviews

I was amazed to have read previous comments especially that last one on 'Laughton not being able to develop the character'. Well you must be blind to think that Laughton didn't understand the character and his suffering. As so often before Laughton dug deep to find every emotion, to feel every fiber of the Claudius character.

Unlike Dieterle , Boleslawski and Leo Mc Carey (directors of other Laughton films) , Von Sternberg wasn't prepared to follow his genius as he was not in for the 'thinking actor' approach.

He was used to have it his way or no way and was looking for a way out. Luckily for him and for Korda, whose company had already spent a zillion dollars on the project, Merle Oberon (who adored Laughton) had her car accident. What remains is proof of Laughton's genius and the greatness of the whole project. Derek Jacobi's portrayal, is equally masterful and both actors in my mind where examples of perfect casting.

Emlyn Williams comments on Laughton are sufficiently clear, praising his colleague and Merle Oberon who featured with Laughton in Korda's 'the private life of Henry VIII' was positive too.

Von Sternberg lost his touch around that time and never really recuperated turning him into an interesting but frustrated teacher at American film schools. One last thing : of course Laughton was not flawless himself and sometimes when he really put his teeth into a role he could be painstakingly meticulous and full of self-doubt even when he had mastered the whole character but the results were almost always worth the pain.

Ps.: It was Von Sternberg (still very frustrated) that didn't like Laughton 30 years on.


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