To Have and To Hold

A girl on the beach at Bournemouth who, as Olivier says, cannot make up her mind.

A variant of Laura (dir. Otto Preminger), Double Indemnity (dir. Billy Wilder), and Vertigo (dir. Alfred Hitchcock), lover kills wife, husband kills wife, lover kills husband, mistress kills husband. Four persons in all, two murders.

The director of I, Claudius has an easy, round, beautiful and precisely detailed style that is unmistakable and copes excellently well with such intricate complexity, taking it all in stride.

An Edgar Wallace Mystery.

TV Guide, “vaguely entertaining... yet another of the seemingly endless string of...”


I, Claudius

The same story six times over, related in the imperial persons of Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius (twice), and Nero as foretold, the vanity of sickness that is the tautology of Rome no longer itself (Visconti’s La Caduta degli dei states the terms).

Amusing substrata of the massive film include Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge for one, and Charles Laughton for another, having achieved the role for Sternberg and furthermore played The Hunchback of Notre Dame (dir. William Dieterle).

Huston’s Moulin Rouge has the old faces at the camera, peering for the benefit of Claudius, whose dilemma is variously expressed in Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai and Altman’s Secret Honor.

But it is a tale that is told again and again, as Claudius notes in his long, long history, compounded of scraps and bits, witness and gossip, hearsay and evidence.

And then, perhaps mainly, the great study of a literary man with solely posthumous expectations.