If honour and principle were the watchwords for Caesars of the nineteenth century, and totalitarianism the core of twentieth, the word which ghosts twenty-first-century productions most clearly is 'spin'. This book traces this evolutionary journey, and discusses productions because they somehow speak to ideas about the play which characterise their period of production, or they have significant features in their own right. It first gives an account of productions of the play prior to the Second World War, right from the stagings at the Globe Theatre's in 1599 to William Bridges-Adams's productions till 1934. The 1937 Orson Welles's production of Julius Caesar, staged at New York's Mercury Theatre was decked out with all the trappings and scenic theatricality of contemporary European Fascism. Shakespeare's play becomes a forum for a consideration of an ethics of American identity with John Houseman's 1953 film. The book discusses three modernist productions of Lindsay Anderson, John Barton and Trevor Nunn, and the new versions of the play for the British TV. The productions under Thatcher's Britain are also focused as well as the unknown accents, especially the Indian and African ones. The productions of Italy, Austria and Germany productions have eschewed direct political association with past or present regimes. The book also presents a detailed study of two productions by a single company, Georgia Shakespeare. In the new millennium, the play's back-and-forth exchange between its long past and the shrill and vibrant insistence of its present, have taken centre stage.
Metaphorically set in a border town, the darkly lit, libidinous urban topography of
Orson Welles’ classic late film noir, Touch of Evil (1958), harbours primal fears and
partially clads criminal activities, underscoring the fact that in the 1950s
miscegenation was still illegal in a number of US states. This article juxtaposes
Charlton Heston‘s leading role in two interracial romances, Touch of Evil and Diamond
Head (1963), which takes place in the new border state of Hawaii. The historical
foregrounding of the Civil Rights movement in the United States during the 1950s and
‘60s with respect to the interracial romances growing popularity is discussed, and
the relevance of recent genetic research into the appeal of difference and the way it
functions within a ‘primal drama’.
. 44. (This and subsequent translations of quotations are by the
author, unless stated otherwise.)
of writings on Hawks edited by Peter Wollen and Jim Hillier, Howard
Hawks: American Artist, are polemical in their titles.
The American cinema is first and foremost an industry producing
goods for mass consumption and profit. Filmmakers, like OrsonWelles
and John Cassavetes, who experimented with new forms of film outside
the conventions of Hollywood, were not welcome in Hollywood. Though
Hollywood has always supported innovations that its
films of OrsonWelles.
In Bergman’s Persona, for example, the subject within the film for
the characters and for the spectator is to resolve the enigma of Elisabet’s
silence. The film is that dilemma. Its narrative is obscure, puzzling and
intense. Bertolucci narrates, describes, represents (as Bergman and
Welles do). At the same time, he struggles against the narratives he portrays. Bacon, more insistently, engages in that struggle of representation
and against representation, the subject of his paintings and the subject
of Bertolucci’s films.
Bacon was not a
In November 1937, OrsonWelles’s production of Julius Caesar, staged at New
York’s Mercury Theatre on Broadway, opened to immediate adulation
and controversy. The production, famously, was decked out with all the
trappings and scenic theatricality of contemporary European Fascism and
renamed Caesar: Death of a Dictator . However much scholars have
of mock-documentary, due mention must be made of a
radio text which in many ways set the template for the form. The 1938 OrsonWelles radio broadcast of War of the Worlds offers an early archetype
of the electronic media hoax, one which contains significant elements of
what later would emerge as mock-documentary. Welles helped to write and
broadcast an innovative radio version of the 1897 H. G. Wells novel on 30
This book consists of 50 categories arranged in alphabetical order centred on film modernism. Each category, though autonomous, interacts, intersects, juxtaposes with the others, entering into a dialogue with them and in so doing creates connections, illuminations, associations and rhymes which may not have arisen in a more conventional framework. The categories refer to particular films and directors that raise questions related to modernism, and, inevitably thereby to classicism. The book is more in the way of questions and speculations than answers and conclusions. Its intention is to stimulate not simply by the substance of what is said, but by the way it is said and structured. Most attention is given to the works of Michelangelo Antonioni, Bernardo Bertolucci, John Ford, Jean-Luc Godard, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, João César Monteiro, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Nicholas Ray, Alain Resnais, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti and Orson Welles. The apparent arbitrary order and openness of the book, based as it is on the alphabet is indebted to Jean-Luc Godard’s interrogation of History and of film history especially true in his stunning Histoire(s) du cinema.
John Houseman believed that Herman Mankiewicz should have been considered the primary writer, instead of sharing writing credits with Orson Welles as appeared in the billing. One of the MGM pictures paired John Houseman with Herman Mankiewicz's younger brother Joseph as director, and returned him to Shakespeare's Caesar. Shakespeare's play becomes a forum for a consideration of an ethics of American identity. The film's American affect was emphasised by moments like the battle scenes, which were filmed to resemble contemporary Westerns and shot on location at Bronson Canyon. MGM had dominated the 1930s box office but had struggled to draw audiences after the war as television kept people at home. On Mankiewicz's return to Hollywood, B. DeMille engineered another open ballot calling for his dismissal, a ballot permitting only a 'yes' verdict, which was forcibly hand-delivered by motorcycle couriers during the night to the entire membership.
The challenge for Julius Caesar in the twentieth century was the negotiation of the play's politics once Orson Welles had demonstrated the triumphs and perils of making explicit comparison with recent or contemporary events. From the Second World War onwards the oratory, heroism and spectacle of the nineteenth century were steadily replaced by more modernist notions of character and totalitarianism. It is fitting that the last conspicuous Julius Caesar production of the old millennium took place at the reconstructed Globe theatre in London in Spring 1999. Edward Hall's 2001 production, which opened at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre before transferring to the Barbican, evoked both the early twentieth century with its black shirts and strutting, jack-booted Caesar, and the Italian present.
answers and conclusions. Its intention is to stimulate not simply by the substance of what is
said but by the way it is said and structured. Most attention is given to the
works of Michelangelo Antonioni, Bernardo Bertolucci, John Ford, JeanLuc Godard, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, João César Monteiro,
Pier Paolo Pasolini, Nicholas Ray, Alain Resnais, Roberto Rossellini,
Luchino Visconti and OrsonWelles. These directors contribute, I believe,
to an understanding of modernism in the cinema, and thus to the forms
of the cinema more generally. To reflect upon modernism