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I, Claudius

 
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Tami Whitehead
poet


Joined: 28 Sep 2002
Posts: 41
Location: Southeast Texas

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 5:11 am    Post subject: I, Claudius Reply with quote

Hello to anyone that's out there. I have been posting in the White Goddess forum, and wanted to expand my Graves experiance...so here I am. I'll try to get things going by rambling a bit about I, Claudius.

Once about 10-12 years ago, I turned on PBS, and caught the beginning of the series. The scene opened with a jolly Augustus at dinner with his family, Nubian dancers entertaining the guests. I was spellbound when the dialogue started. It came on Sundays, just after I got off work, so it became an essential part of my week, and was a kind of cleansing. I loved being immersed in the characters, the lives of these people. I made my first husband watch it with me. I made my room mate watch it with me. They too were soon hooked.

I hunted for the book, and was thrilled to find it AND a sequal. Too cool! And there it all was, the booming laugh of Augustus, the mincing of Julia, the conniving of Livia...I have always had a taste for historical fiction, but as I continued to come across Graves' books, I was thrilled also at his non-fiction, was just happened to perfectly suit my tastes for mythology, calenders, alphabets and riddles and such...(I know, I should get out more). These things made reading the Claudius books even more fun. I knew he wasn't a writer with a passing taste in "ancient" stuff. He had done the research for years before writing the books, he really did know the characters, they were "people" to him. He could hear the boom of Augustus, so to speak. This is what makes a book come alive for me. And I like the way he perpetuates just that, seeing the people of great events as people, not dry names in old history books. And also...while telling the story of the people, he lays out how history happened around them, through them, in spite of them...

OK, so I enjoyed the PBS production too. But I wonder what they could make of it today, with a great director and full sets. What do you guys think? Does Graves' I, Claudius deserve or need to be redone?

Anyhow, that's what I have. Now it's your turn.
Tami
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ian
bard


Joined: 25 May 2002
Posts: 72
Location: Oxford, England

PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2002 6:03 pm    Post subject: Claudius movies Reply with quote

Quote:
OK, so I enjoyed the PBS production too. But I wonder what they could make of it today, with a great director and full sets. What do you guys think? Does Graves' I, Claudius deserve or need to be redone?


Well, I've bought the DVDs http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004U12X/robertgravessoci/104-3268443-2454358
(they're region-free if that matters to anyone) which shows, I suppose, how much I enjoyed the series.

Interestingly, the last DVD in the set includes "The Epic that Never Was", the infamous Korda production starring Charles Laughton that was never completed http://us.imdb.com/Title?0199498. I've always wondered what Graves' reputation would be like today had that version of the film been finished.

On the Graves-vine (sorry, couldn't resist), there's always talk of another production. In fact, I think the rights for a new film version are owned which means that it's always possible.

Ian
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Tami Whitehead
poet


Joined: 28 Sep 2002
Posts: 41
Location: Southeast Texas

PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2002 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alas, no DVD as yet...if I am extra special good, Santa may bring me one! yes, I have lusted after my own completer I, Claudius since my first watching of it, but I couldn't afford the $250 PBS premium to get the mug, let alone whatever it was to get the videos LOL!

Do you know who owns the rights?

Was anyone besides myself pleased to see old Claudius in Gladiator? Derek Jacobi, is that his name? Played Cadfeal (sp) too I think, though I only caught one episode of that. He looked good, the years have been kind to him.

I happened to find online a little article Colin Wilson wrote about Robert Graves, (don't throw anything Rolling Eyes ) In it he mentioned that Graves wasn't all that impressed himself with the Claudius books, that they were mainly written as potboilers and rent payers. Well, he also said that when he asked Grave's advice on whether he should write a book about the occult, Robert said, "Don't."

I don't know. I haven't read Graves' other novels, so I may be ill-eqipped to judge, but I thought the Claudius books were well-written and thoughtful...the intricacies of intrigue and politics, history, are laid out very nicely for those readers who don't go to sleep with Gallic Conquests or Plutarch's Lives in their hand. Why would he go to all that trouble just to pay the rent? Surely if he just wanted to make money, any reasonably well researched hist/fic about Calligula would do the trick. Calligula is estimably marketable, and well-suited to a low-brow or otherwise disinterested public. Why go into sybils and Punic Curses (how many then actually knew what the Punic Curse could be? ) I may be naive, but I can't help but think that Robert wrote a book that he might actually enjoy reading...just a thought.

Comments?

Tami
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