T. it.: Io, Claudio. Sc.: Lajos Biro, Carl Zuchmayer, dai romanzi «I, Claudius» (1934) e «Claudius The God» (1934) di Robert Graves. F.: Georges Perinal. Scgf.: Vincent Korda. Cost.: John Armstrong. Coreografia: Agnes De Mille. Cast: Charles Laughton (Claudio), Merle Oberon (Messalina), F. Forbes Roberston (Tiberio), Robert Newton (centurione), John Clements (Valente), Emlyn Williams (Caligola). Prod.: Alexander Korda per London Films; 35mm. L.: 356 m. D.: 13’ a 24 f/s. Bn.
That fateful afternoon, therefore, was devoted to Alexander Korda, who brought me I, Claudius by Robert Graves, urging me to read it, and at the same time informing me that he could no longer direct the actor for whom this work had been acquired. Korda, who later became Sir Alexander, had also brought a hastily written manuscript based on the two volumes and proceeded to persuade me to take over the direction of a film which was to feature Mr. Charles Laughton. When I asked him why he did not wish to direct this film himself, he gave me gruesome details of the difficulties he had endured in directing Laughton, interlacing his recital with effusive flattery of my ability to direct the devil himself. […] The subject interested me, and my plan was not only to bring to life an old empire and to depict the arrogance and decay of its civilization but to hold it up as a mirror to our own tottering values and to investigate the diseased roots of excessive ambition.
Josef von Sternberg, Fun in Chinese Laundry, San Francisco, Mercury House Incorporated, 1988