It is no secret that G.B. Shaw thought very highly of himself, so much so that his last play was a ten minute Punch and Judy encounter between him and his perceived rival, Shakespeare, with Shaw coming out on top.
The Encyclopaedia Brittanica commissioned a three-part film series for schools where this rather bold claim was brought to life through the lens (ha!) of their respective embodiments of Caesar. Writer/director John Barnes allows Shaw (Donald Moffat) to narrate in the manner of a lengthy GBS preface and thereby gives him the advantage. Richard Kiley and Suzanne Grossman are featured and the perfectly named Ernest Graves as Brutus lets Julius have it in the rotunda.
Cosma Shalizi once described Stephen Wolfram’s ‘A New Kind of Science’ as “A rare blend of monster raving egomania and utter batshit insanity.” The same may or may not be true here. On these the Ides of March, we can sit down calmly, rinse the blood off our togas, watch, listen, and judge for ourselves. Scroll down within each video window for more information on each.
Films courtesy of the Barnes Family, the Academic Film Archive, and The Internet Archive.
Shaw vs. Shakespeare I: The Character of Caesar
Shaw vs. Shakespeare II: The Tragedy of Julius Caesar
Shaw vs. Shakespeare III: ‘Caesar and Cleopatra