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    Tuesday Documentary: Season 1969

    1969x07 The Epic That Never Was

    • 1969-02-24T23:00:00Z on BBC Two
    • 55m
    • United Kingdom
    • Documentary
    In 1937 shooting began at Denham Studios on the late Sir Alexander Korda 's masterpiece, 1, Claudius, from the book by Robert Graves Why it remains unfinished is told by DIRK BOGARDE with scenes from the original London Films production Also appearing: Josef von Sternberg, Robert Graves Eileen Corbett , John Armstrong Written and produced by BILL DUNCALF Brilliantly compiled, it contains all the news of the great fiasco that's fit to print OBSERVER A work oj outstanding interest and merit DAILY MAIL The most marvellous thing ... weird and wonderful SUN In 1937 Sir Alexander Korda of London Films embarked on a spectacular project-an epic that was to overshadow all others and enshrine him for ever as the saviour of the British film industry. Robert Graves's classics, 1, Claudius, and Claudius the God told the story of how, by allowing his enemies to think him an idiot, an apparently imbecilic cripple overthrew Caligula, became Emperor of Rome, and was finally ' appointed' a god by the Roman Senate. Korda had a star-laden cast lined up: Charles Laughton , Emlyn Williams , Merle Oberon , and Flora Robson , and the legendary Josef von Sternberg was engaged as director. Filming began, but after a month's shooting-a month fraught with difficulties, according to von Sternberg-Merle Oberon was involved in a car crash and the entire project was shelved. It was not until twenty-eight years later that BBC-tv producer, Bill Duncalf , came across some tins of film in the Denham studio vaults and realised that they comprised a unique document. The rescued ' rushes' were edited, and together with filmed interviews with people who remembered working on the production, were made into an intriguing documentary. Tonight at 9.5 you have another chance to see this highly acclaimed film.