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Cleopatra hasn't been on the throne of the pharoahs of Egypt very long when Julius Caesar pays a visit. Caesar finds the prospect of romance more tempting than he expected, since Cleopatra is a rare woman who is bright as well as beautiful. And for Cleopatra, a friendly relationship with the most powerful man in the world may pay dividends in the future. Written by
Dale O'Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Bernard Shaw does not perhaps adapt too well to the screen, but, in my opinion, this adaptation is particularly successful and probably the best of them all, although one video edition in the UK didn't even risk mentioning Shaw's name anywhere on the box, prefering to market it as mere exotic spectacle. It is of course all that, but as with everything Shaw wrote, much, much more, and is essentially about IDEAS, (not necessarily, as has often been contended, always Shaw's own personal convictions). Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra gives yet another sublime and first-rate performance as she progresses from frightened teenager to an imperious Queen with a real understanding of power. (The scene in which she whips a hapless slave in order to experience the "thrill" of total power, strangely pre-echoes the psychology of the much misunderstood SALO). Mention too must also be made of the superb musical score by Georges Auric, and admiration expressed for the sheer audacity of producer Pascal for making such a lavish and expensive production in poverty-stricken post-war Britain. Well worth watching.
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