Cleopatra, the famed Egyptian Queen born in 69 B.C., is shown to have been brought by Roman ruler Julius Caesar at age 18. Caesar becomes sexually obsessed by the 18 year old queen, beds ... See full summary »
Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.
The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable dies while on vacation with his cousin Catherine. What the girl saw was so horrible that she went insane; now Mrs. Venable wants Catherine lobotomized to cover up the truth.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
In 48 B.C., Caesar pursues Pompey from Pharsalia to Egypt. Ptolemy, now supreme ruler after deposing his older sister, Cleopatra, attempts to gain favor with Caesar by presenting the conquerer with the head of Pompey, borne by his governors, Pothinos and Achillas. To win Caesar's support from her brother, Cleopatra hides herself in a rug, which Apollodorus, her servant, presents to Caesar. The Roman is immediately infatuated; banishing Ptolemy, he declares Cleopatra Egypt's sole ruler and takes her as his mistress. A son, Caesarion, is born of their union. Caesar, however, must return to Italy. Although he is briefly reunited with Cleopatra during a magnificent reception for the queen in Rome, Caesar is assassinated shortly thereafter, and Cleopatra returns to Egypt. When Mark Antony, Caesar's protégé, beholds Cleopatra aboard her elaborate barge at Tarsus some years later, he is smitten and becomes both her lover and military ally. Their liaison notwithstanding, Antony, to ... Written by
Twentieth Century-Fox was in financial trouble in the late 1950s due to disappointing box-office returns of some major releases. Orders were given to search the Fox script library for a proven property that could be remade. The project chosen was Cleopatra (1917), a Theda Bara film that had been a smash hit for the studio. With no surviving prints, they based their judgment on an archived copy of the original script and some stills from the production. Then the studio needed a producer willing to handle the project. At the same time, veteran producer Walter Wanger approached Twentieth Century-Fox with an idea for a project he'd been planning for several years: the story of Cleopatra. In the words of David Brown, "We fell on him." See more »
When Cleopatra's boat approaches the shore, the white translucent curtains are pulled open. In a view from the shore, they are still closed. See more »
Breathtaking photography, fabulous costumes, wonderful lead and supporting role performances, a dual love story that is timeless - the romance with Caesar for power and the romance with Marc Antony for love, unmatched music by Alex North, that's what's in Cleopatra. From the time that it came out, I have remained a person who has not been afraid to say that I have loved it.
Elizabeth Taylor's legendary beauty is very evident here. My favorite scenes of hers are Cleopatra's anguish upon finding out about Marc Antony's [Richard Burton] marriage and the closing scene with her reunited with the dying Marc Antony. Similarly, Caesar's [Rex Harrison] opening war scene, Marc Antony's gut-wrenching soliloquy as a broken man after the defeat at Actium , Octavian's [Roddy McDowall] harsh scolding of an officer that let him know of Marc Antony's death, Sosigenes' [Hume Cronyn] death scene, Apollodorus' [Cesare Danova] support for Cleopatra, and Rufio's [Martin Landau] support for Marc Antony are all permanently etched in my memory.
The shear lushness of the production has to be seen to truly believed. Remember, this was released in 1963 far before the gimmickry of computer enhanced effects. The crowds in these scenes are real, the buildings are real, this is not a movie that was put together with the smoke and mirrors of computers. I truly do hope that restorers are able to eventually find the footage that was deleted, primarily due to Zanuck's influence and not Mankiewicz's desire, so that we may see more of what Mankiewicz had in mind.
I also strongly recommend that one view the DVD release. The included documentary about putting the film together helps one get a good perspective about the real headaches involved in getting this film made.
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