THAT (that) wrote,
THAT
that

My Beloved Clau-Clau-Claudius

I picked up the boxed set of I, Claudius last week and I can tell you that was $50 well spent.  It is so exceptionally fine.  You will never see grander theater on your television screen, I promise you, 

Ye gods, Livia is so EVIL.  She is the stage mother from Hell.  That woman frightens me to death and she's been dead for two millenia.  It's one of the plum roles in a series full of the kind of parts actors would kill for and Siân Phillips is formidable.  I read that she was married to Peter O'Toole for years and years and also does cabaret.  My god, what a woman she must be.  John Hurt's Caligula cemented my opinion--since confirmed many times--that there is no greater actor in the world.  There are so many fine performances that I will never tire of rewatching it.  This must have been the absolute cream of the British stage at that time.

I thought I recognized a Praetorian Guard, summoned by Livia to dispatch with one of her son's rivals.  When the credits rolled around, by Jove, if it wasn't a young and studly Patrick Stewart.  It's been 25 years since I've seen it, so I can't recall if his part recurs, but I hope so.  (Update: it does.  He's very good, but far from the best of the minor characters.)

I saw this a quarter of a century ago and yet it seems like yesterday.  Someone unkindly said once of the English that a nation is in trouble when its chief export is actors, but I say with actors like these, the British have every reason to be a proud nation.

I've read the Robert Graves novels, but I think I'm ready now for Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars.  I just cannot get enough of the horror that was Rome.  Vampire fiction is chickenshit compared to the annals of the progenitors of our great cultural heritage.

So, yes.  I recommend it.
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