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Antony and Cleopatra (1974)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  4 January 1975 (USA)
6.8
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Title: Antony and Cleopatra (TV Movie 1974)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Rosemary McHale ...
Mavis Taylor Blake ...
Darien Angadi ...
Sidney Livingstone ...
Mardian
Geoffrey Hutchings ...
A Fig Seller
Loftus Burton ...
Lennard Pearce ...
Cleopatra's Schoolteacher
Joseph Charles ...
Cleopatra's Messenger
...
Cleopatra's Servant
Douglas Anderson ...
Cleopatra's Eunuch
Michael Egan ...
Cleopatra's Eunuch
Paul Gaymon ...
Cleopatra's Eunuch
Wendy Bailey ...
Servant
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Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

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Release Date:

4 January 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Antonios kai Kleopatra  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

One of the last made-for-TV Shakespeare adaptations (to date) to have its American premiere on commercial network television. Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet (1968), made for movie theaters, would be telecast by ABC in 1980, but the only other made-for-TV Shakespeare adaptation to have its American premiere on commercial television since 1975 has been the syndicated telecast of the Laurence Olivier King Lear (1983), which was shown on American television in 1984, after premiering in England in 1983. See more »

Quotes

Marc Antony: I am dying, Egypt, dying.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The closing credits, rather than being listed in order of prominence, by appearance, or alphabetically, are divided into three sections: "With Cleopatra played by Janet Suzman were:", "With Antony played by Richard Johnson were:", and "With Octavius Caesar played by Corin Redgrave were:" See more »

Connections

Version of Cleopatra (1910) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Erotic Technique That Can't Be Beat
4 April 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Though the acting from the Royal Shakespeare company is first rate, this version of Antony and Cleopatra is little more than a photographed stage play. And a bit long for the cinema at that.

The title roles are played well by Richard Johnson and Janet Suzman. The story has been told three times in contemporary verse in the cinema by Theda Bara, Claudette Colbert, and Elizabeth Taylor as the seductive Queen of Egypt who tried to bend one too many conquerors to her will by use of her legendary charms.

William Shakespeare's Mark Antony was a principal character in two of his plays, Julius Caesar where he skillfully picked up the leadership of his late patriarch Caesar and routed the conspirators who assassinated the legendary conqueror.

To give legitimacy to his enterprise, Antony was forced into partnership with Octavian Caesar, Julius's grandnephew and a legion commander Lepidus made the triumvir of three. This play is a story of the dissolution of that partnership caused in no small part by Cleopatra.

Sex may have more a part in Antony and Cleopatra than in any other work of Shakespeare. Historians might very well argue that Mark Antony was using Cleopatra as his entrée to gaining alliances with various Roman dependencies in a power play against Octavian. But Shakespeare was no doubt titillating his 16th century audience with the tales of Cleopatra's erotic technique. Ahenobarbus, Antony's good friend played here by Patrick Stewart, says that while Octavia's sister's a pretty thing, when you get entangled with Cleopatra, she's so good that men are never satisfied, they keep hungering for more.

So that's the reason why Antony instead of tending to business and keeping an eye on Octavian gradually loses support in Rome where it really counts. The guy who was so shrewd in Julius Caesar in Antony and Cleopatra is just a love struck fool. It's the basis for his tragedy.

As for Cleopatra, three times wasn't the charm. Julius Caesar and Mark Antony may have succumbed although there is debate about who was using who. But in Octavian as played here by Corin Redgrave is all about business.

I was interested in the difference between Ahenobarbus in Cecil B. DeMille's Cleopatra which starred Claudette Colbert and the way Shakespeare writes him and Stewart plays him. In the DeMille film, Ahenobarbus is played by C. Aubrey Smith as a stout old soldier who finds it a matter of conscience to leave Antony and support his beloved Roman Empire which he sees embodied now in Octavian. Patrick Stewart's Ahenobarbus is far more of an opportunist who makes a calculated move at the right time.

The money here was spent on talent with the people mentioned and the others in the cast from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Down the cast list you'll find Ben Kingsley in a minor role. Look also for a very touching performance by Rosemary McHale as Charmian, Cleopatra's faithful handmaiden who makes the last journey with her.

This version of Antony and Cleopatra is not a movie per se, it lacks the production values of one. The Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra had the spectacle to go with the acting. This one succeeds on talent alone.


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