Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Epic Film of the Queen of the Nile

Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison star in this sweeping tale of power and betrayal -- the legendary story of the Queen of the Nile and her conquest of Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. Here is the truly unforgettable portrayal of the beguiling beauty who seduced two of Rome's greatest soldiers and changed the course of history. Breathtaking in scope and grandeur, the picture won Oscars® for cinematography, art direction, costumes, sets and special effects. In the tradition of epic romantic adventures like Braveheart and Titanic comes the greatest spectacle of all... Cleopatra.

Title: Cleopatra
Release: July 31, 1963
Genre: Drama/Romance- History
MPAA Rating: G
Based On: The Life and Times of Cleopatra by C.M. Franzero
Writer: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Sidney Buchman, Ben Hecht, & Ranald MacDougall
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Rouben Mamoulian (fired), & Darryl F. Zanuck (quit)
Music By: Alex North
Produced By: Walter Wanger
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox
Run Time: 244 minutes

Cleopatra was one of the last truly epic films and unfortunately it was considered the biggest flop of all time and nearly bankrupted the 20th Century Fox studio. It actually did earn back the money spent (eventually) and that’s saying a lot because it was -and if adjusted for inflation, still is - the most expensive film ever made ... and for good reason! The sets are big and spectacular, the costumes are elaborate and gorgeous, and the actors themselves are the cream of the crop.

I honestly believe that if the director had been allowed to split the movie into two parts like he originally wanted to do, the film wouldn’t have suffered so much and it would have been a million times better. As it stands its simply an ok movie that’s really, really long (can you imagine that it was actually longer but they cut it?!). I still loved the actors and their wonderful performances but I almost wish Elizabeth Taylor hadn’t been involved in it but then Hollywood loves their spectacles and the movie couldn’t have had a better bit of advertising than Richard Burton’s and Taylors’ very public affair.

~ I enjoyed watching the 3-disc (the last disc is bonus features, the first two is the movie... I told you it was long!) DVD but I really hope that those missing three hours are recovered one day so the world can see the epic as it was meant to be seen.

Find Cleopatra Online



Related Reviews
Rex Harrison- Julius Caesar
A Damned Serious Business: My Life in Comedy by Rex Harrison
Night Train to Munich (1940)- Gus Bennett/Dickie Randall
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)- Captain Daniel Gregg
My Fair Lady (1964)- Professor Henry Higgins
The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)- Pope Julius II
Doctor Dolittle (1967)- Dr. John Dolittle
Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986)- Grand Duke Cyril Romanov
Roddy McDowall- Octavian/ Caesar Augustus
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)- Mr. Jelk (Priest)

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