TNT's "Caesar" DVD??

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Justin Bauer, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Justin Bauer

    Justin Bauer Supporting Actor

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    Has anyone heard a thing about this coming out?? I heard it was really good and I missed it on its first run last summer.

    I cannot find anything about a DVD for it, which shocks me, since TNT already released that crappy shark movie "Red Water" on DVD, why not "Caesar"?
     
  2. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Red Water was released on DVD by Columbia Tri-Star, which produced the film, not by TNT. It may also be that TNT doesn't own the DVD distribution rights to Caesar, which was in international co-production. Universal released the mini on DVD in Germany.

    Personally I didn't think the film was very good. (And, as usual, not one of the togas looked anything like togas on statues of the period because they're made wrong.) If you want to experience the story of the period presented in an exciting, dramatic and infinitely more historically accurate form read the "Masters of Rome" novels by Colleen McCullough. From The First Man in Rome (which begins with the careers of Gaius Marius and Lucius Cornelius Sulla a generation before the birth of Gaius Julius Caesar the Dictator) through The October Horse, which ends with Octavius asserting his claim as Caesar's heir, McCullough tells the story of the end of the Roman Republic and the inevitable emergence of an Imperial state brilliantly, with incredible attention to detail and with a scholar's respect for fact. (The Latin glossaries and author's notes that are appended to each volume often discuss historical controversies and why she elected to present things as she did. Unlike an academic historian a novelist cannot present various acocunts of an event and leave the reader to decide which is more likely. She must decide which version "really" happened in the recreated world inhabited by her characters.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  3. Justin Bauer

    Justin Bauer Supporting Actor

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    That is disappointing that it is not very good. I really want HBO to do a nice mini series on Gaius Julius Caesar , but probably will never happen.

    Funny you should mention the Masters of Rome series...I just started First Man in Rome today.

    Do you know where I can find a list of all the books in the series??
     
  4. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Yeah, right here. [​IMG]

    The First Man in Rome
    The Grass Crown
    Fortune's Favourites
    Caesar's Women
    Caesar: A Novel
    The October Horse: A Novel of Caesar & Cleopatra


    Despite the subtitle, the final volume is as much Octavian's story as any one else's. It is a shame that McCullough has decided that it will be the last volume in the series. (Although one can pick up I, Claudius and meet Octavian, now Augustus, 20 years or so later.)

    McCullough has her own take on many characters and events, but I generally find her evidence and arguments convincing and her narrative persuasive. I'd love to see somebody film her version of the Spartacus story, which is much more plausible than the various Hollywood versions that have begun in ingnorance and then overlaid it with allegory. (Kubrick's film painted him as a socialist reformer, while also adding a sheen of proto-Christianity.) She starts off by casually disposing of the notion that the man who used the stage name "Spartacus" ("Man of Sparta") was a "Thracian", that is, a native of Thrace. In fact "Thracian" was one of the two main fighting styles gladiators were trained in, the other being "Gaul". (The styles, clothing and armaments of each type was distinct.) So virtually all gladiators were either "Gauls" or "Thracians" regardless of where they came from - even the ones who were born in the city of Rome... [​IMG]

    Oh, and Pompey was hundreds of miles from Rome at the time of Spartacus's final battle, as all the ancient sources attest. Far from closing the trap, he actually caught and slaughtered many of the fugitives from Crassus's attack weeks later.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  5. Justin Bauer

    Justin Bauer Supporting Actor

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    ^Thanks for the list. I could not put down First Man last night. I will probably be reading it all day today.

    I would love for someone like HBO to invest alot of money into the Masters of Rome series and produce 6 seasons of it. One book per season, 13 episodes. I doubt something like that would ever happen, but I could always hope. Thanks for the input on the books. Are there any other fiction books about Ancient Rome I should read, I have some good history books (12 Caesars, Julius Caesar, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome, Roman Warfare.)
    Thanks for the input.
     
  6. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    It is funny that you had just started reading The First Man in Rome when you started this thread.

    I can't really recommend much else in the way of ficiton of the period, because I frankly haven't read much of it. (And most of what I've sampled is so awful.) I'm more inclined to non-fiction, as a rule, and find it hard to make time for novels. (I have a half-dozen histories and biographies awaiting my attention even as I write this, in addition to the two I'm currently reading.) McCullough's Rome books were an exception. I, too, got hooked with the opening pages of First Man and absolutely, positively had to have the next volume as soon as it was published. Even when I was out of work and skipping 99% of new DVD releases in order to economize, a new "Rome" novel was on the short list of luxuries that I allowed myself. (The season sets of Babylon 5 was another.)

    You're in the fortunate position of being able to save money by buying the books in paperback (even The October Horse should be in paper by the time you get around to reading it, if it isn't already.) You'll also be spared the two or three year wait between installments that McCullough's original audience suffered. [​IMG] That was quite maddening, comparable to the wait between Empire and Jedi for Star Wars fans - except multiplied by five.

    The two Claudius novels by Robert Graves are, by all accounts, the gold standard of such historical fiction, but I haven't gotten around to them. I certainly thought the mini-series was terrific (a must-buy on DVD when I get around to it) and it is supposed to be a faithful adaptation, as BBC productions of famous novels are wont to be.

    A more recent series with the overall title of "Emperor" is on paperback racks now (I'm not sure if they're paperback originals or reprints of books previously presented in hardcover - but I suspect the former.) I picked up the first one out of curiousity and have already given it away to a group that gives books to hospice patients. It started with an account of Caesar's family life and youth that flatly contradicts a half-dozen biographies I've read, gets his age wrong wirh respect to events in Rome, and makes a total muddle of the struggle between Marius and Sulla. All this in the first thirty pages or so. I skimmed through the rest and it didn't get any better, so I got rid of it.

    I once ran across a sort of "Phillip Marlowe in ancient Rome" detective story that was every bit as horrible as it sounds. Another one that I simply could not read, although luckily I discovered that before I bought it. [​IMG]

    After talking about the McCullough books I'm now going to have to break them out and read them again, as soon as I can clear some time. It will be interesting to go through the whole saga from beginning to end, without the gap of years between volumes. Thanks for reminding me of how good these books are.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  7. Justin Bauer

    Justin Bauer Supporting Actor

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    I know of the "Emperor" series that you mentioned. I have read the first two books in it...the second was just released. The author definitely applied the artistic license in the books. He talked about his reasons for doing so and for the most part, I understand why.

    I also read "Pompeii" last month and enjoyed it as a quick read. But, it has some glaring inaccuracies as well. Characters flipping each other the middle finger and making reference to paper money were the two big ones.

    I cannot stand paperback books, so I buy hardbacks on ebay or Half Priced books. So far I have 3 of the Masters of Rome series in first editions. I am working on getting the others.
     

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