John Hurt: Ollivander and Caligula
October 26, 2010
Younger son recently read the fourth book of the Harry Potter series so we're watching the first few movies over again from the beginning. Even though I've seen the first movie a number of times, I still do a double take when I see John Hurt play Mr. Ollivander (right) because his performance as Caligula, in I Claudius, thirty-four years ago, is still very fresh in my mind. When watching Harry Potter, I have to remind myself that Mr. Ollivander is a friendly character, not the insane, psychopathic emporer he portrays in I Claudius:
MerelyAFan, a YouTube commenter mentions:
What I love about John Hurt's performance is how here Caligula really seems to think he's a rational, intelligent, (god) emperor who really believes he's doing Rome well. Others play him as too overtly crazy and purposefully over the top, but with Hurt you can just see his angry frustration in people not understanding his logical (in fact contradictory) orders or confusion at his "rewarding" campaign against Neptune.
I, Claudius is filled with excellent performances. Even so, John Hurt's performance, as horrifying as his character is, stands out.