Julius Caesar is a 1953 epic adaptation of the play by Shakespeare, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, produced by John Houseman by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film’s cast was a large ensemble of Oscar winners and nominees include Marlon Brando, Greer Garson, Edmond O’Brien, John Gielgud, James Mason, Louis Calhern and Deborah Kerr. It received numerous favourable reviews upon its release, plus five Oscar nominations for the 26th Academy Awards and won one for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White.
Brando played Mark Antony, the role that was considered for Paul Scofield should Brando’s screentest not work out, since his casting was initially met with skepticism following his infamous “mumbling” in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). In order to improve his elocution, Brando adopted every recommendation in reciting Shakespeare from John Gielgud, with whom he befriended during filming. His performance turned out exceedingly well, which brought him his third consecutive Best Actor Oscar nomination after A Streetcar Named Desire and Viva Zapata! (1952), in 1955 he got the fourth one and ultimately won for On the Waterfront (1954). New York Times stated in its review of the film: “Happily, Mr. Brando’s diction, which has been guttural and slurred in previous films, is clear and precise in this instance. In him a major talent has emerged.”
The top billing was given to Brando, even though Mason’s role was more central to the plot. Brando was well aware of the strong bond between director Mankiewicz and Mason following 5 Fingers (1952), and after noticing the subsequent shift in directorial focus, he threatened to walk off the movie unless the initial attention was restored. Fortunately, production carried on with very little disturbance, as a result of “Mankiewicz’s consummate tact” according to Gielgud.
Below are 32 impressive photos and stills of Brando as Mark Antony in the film: