56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Fine Performance by Heston but I prefer the Brando version,
This review is from: Julius Caesar [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Charlton Heston does an admirable job as Marc Antony in this 1970 version of Shakespeare's play. Certainly you will come away from this film wishing he had performed more Shakespeare on film. However, I must admit a strong preference for Marlon Brando's performance in the same role in the 1953 version of "Julius Caesar," and especially the funeral scene where the performance of the mob is equal to that of the actor in the pulpit. It would have been equally worthwhile to see Brando attempt more of the Bard as well.
I also find that across the board the acting is slightly better in the earlier version. In this color version it is strange to see Jason Robards, Jr., who made his reputation performing the works of Eugene O'Neill on the stage, flounder so badly with Shakespeare, and I have to admit his performance gets in the way of my enjoyment of this film. Of the other actors it is interesting to see John Gielgud take on the title role since he played the lean and hungry Cassius in the earlier version, a joy to see Diana Rigg nail her significant scene as Portia, and a bit disconcerting to see so many actors who would become television stars in the years to come (e.g., Richard Chamberlain, Robert Vaugh and Carroll O'Connor).
I also prefer Joseph L. Mankiewicz's direction of the 1953 film to the work of Stuart Burge in this version. Mankiewicz also had the advantage of Academy Award-winning art direction and set decoration, which I really think overcomes the fact the later version is in color. If you are screening the entire film for students or focusing just on Antony's funeral oration, by either standard I really believe you are better served with the earlier film.