Honors Literature and Rhetoric
Movie choices in 1950s and 1970s versions in Julius Caesar A scene that had major differences in acting, between the 50s and 70s versions, was act 3 scene 1. In the 50s version, when all conspirators had stabbed Caesar except Brutus, Caesar staggers over to Brutus looking for protection. The 50s version haves the actor playing Brutus look terrified and hesitant on what to do. Also, Brutus is facing Caesar when he approaches him. The 1970s version however positions Brutus with his back to Caesar. Then once Caesar touches Brutus’s shoulder, Brutus recoils from Caesars’s touch turns around, draws his dagger, and stabs Caesar. Brutus in this scene, attacks Caesar with more malice and certainty. Also, in this scene, Caesar’s lines are changed from film to film. In the 50s version, Caesar only says,”Et Tu Brute, So fall Caesar “after he has been stabbed by Brutus. Whereas in the 70s version, Caesar says, “Et Tu Brute “when Brutus turns to face him and then only later after Brutus has stabbed Caesar, does Caesar add, “So fall Caesar”.
Clearly, the director of the 1950s version interpreted Brutus’s bond with Caesar as more intimate and strong. To this director, Brutus was a very good friend of Caesar. If this were not so, the director would not have made Brutus so hesitant in stabbing Caesar. Also, the director made Caesar more trustful of Brutus. If the director did not want to show trust between Brutus and Caesar, he would not have made Caesar walk over to Brutus for protection. Caesar regarded Brutus with hopeful eyes until Brutus stabbed him. Even after Brutus stabs Caesar, Brutus still looks on Caesar with remorse. It is only until Brutus stabs Caesar, that Caesar still has faith in Brutus. Only then did Caesar know that his friend had betrayed him. Caesar and Brutus obviously had a more friendly relationship in this director’s eyes.
In the 70s version however, the director did not have such an interpretation. The director of the 70s version makes Brutus seem cold and distant to Caesar. In his adaptation, the bond of trust between Caesar and Brutus is not so strong. It is clear that Caesar does not trust Brutus as much because he says his lines “Et Tu Brute” before Brutus stabs him. Those lines signify the bonds of trust and friendship being broken between Caesar and Brutus. Those lines signal that Caesar has realized that even his best friend wants to kill him. Because Caesar delivers those lines prior to the stabbing, it must mean that Caesar has already lost trust in Brutus even before the stabbing. Caesar already predicts that Brutus is going to betray him. If this bond of trust was stronger, then Caesar would not give up hope so quickly. He would still look to Brutus for support. Further compounding the idea of a weak bond of trust between Caesar and Brutus is Brutus’s position to Caesar. Brutus’s position suggests to the viewer that he does not know Caesar. Brutus’s turned back makes the reader infer that Brutus is so disgusted with Caesar that he does not want to even see him. Adding further to this is how Brutus reacts to Caesar once he touches him. Brutus recoils as if a poisonous snake had touched him. This makes the viewer get the message that Brutus absolutely despises Caesar and his hubris. It makes the viewer think that Brutus is disgusted by Caesar just touching him. This also adds to the director’s interpretation of a cold and ruthless Brutus. The last thing that makes it clear to the viewer that Brutus’s relationship with Caesar is not strong is the way Brutus stabs Caesar. When Brutus turns to stab Caesar, he looks at him with confusion but then that look is superseded with hatred. Brutus stabs Caesar