Friday, July 03, 2009

The Epic That Never Was

An account of the making of the unfinished film I, Claudius (GB 1937). - GB 1965. D: Bill Duncalf. SC: Bill Duncalf; Op.: Charles Parnall, David Findlay, David Samuelson, Alan Featherstone, Robert Kauffman; ED: Brian Keene; Narrator: Dirk Bogarde; WITH: Robert Graves, Josef von Sternberg, Merle Oberon (Messalina), Flora Robson (Imperatrice Livia), Emlyn Williams (Caligola), Eileen Corbett (segretaria di edizione), John Armstrong (costumista). In the vintage footage only: Charles Laughton (Claudius); PC: Bill Duncalf per BCC (TV) 35mm. 71’. From: collezionista. - Presenta Janet Bergstrom, earphone translation in Italian, viewed at Cinema Lumière 2, Bologna, 3 July 2009. - A rare 35mm screening of the fine documentary. - I had seen it before on Finnish television in January 1978 ("Minä Claudius", suurelokuva jota ei ollutkaan). - Now, with having seen many Sternberg prints with a duped look, the great revelation was to see this print which looked like it's struck from the original negative. At least, with access to the original negative. - Janet Bergstrom stressed that Sternberg himself was the main editor of his films; this is confirmed in the statement of Eileen Corbett in this documentary. - Thus, the edited footage of I, Claudius is literally the director's cut. - And also the definition of light in the negative has been approved by Sternberg, himself an ASC cinematographer.

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