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
Elizabeth Taylor said of the finished, 192-minute film, "They had cut out the heart, the essence, the motivations, the very core, and tacked on all those battle scenes. It should have been about three large people, but it lacked reality and passion. I found it vulgar." See more »
Ptolemy XIV and Arsinoe IV are "missing". This is especially apparent with the former, who in reality was named as co-ruler with Cleopatra between 47 and 44 BC. See more »
Is that how one says it? As simply as that. "Mark Antony is dead. Lord Antony is dead." "The soup is hot; the soup is cold." "Antony is living; Antony is dead." Shake with terror when such words pass your lips, for fear they be untrue and Antony'd cut out your tongue for the lie! And if true, for your lifetime boast that you were honored to speak his name even in death. The dying of such a man, must be shouted, screamed! It must echo back from the corners of the universe. "Antony is dead! Mark ...
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Regarded as the biggest flop (at least until "Ishtar") in motion picture history, "Cleopatra" has been given the short end of the stick since it first premiered in 1963 but it still is a great film. True, it did plague 20th Century Fox to the point of near bankruptcy (until "The Sound of Music" saved it in 1965) and Elizabeth Taylor's health overshadowed the film schedule but there are more good things about the film than there are bad, the backlashing of the film has just blown itself all out of proportion. Richard Burton and Elizabeth's much-publicized offscreen love affair grew to such a feverishly fiery degree that it made their onscreen relationship as Antony and Cleopatra all the more genuine. Rex Harrison as Caesar is first-rate as well and yet he was the only one out of the entire cast that received an Oscar nomination (Richard Burton was one who should have been in the running as well... his performance is equal to his earlier work in "The Robe" and later in "Becket" and "Anne of the Thousand Days"). Miss Taylor is very commanding in the role of her career and as a result few remember Claudette Colbert's earlier turn as Egypt's most memorable ruler in Cecil B. De Mille's 1934 version. The one point I want to make is that the film should have gotten more praise than it did... like "The Wizard of Oz", "Fantasia" and "It's a Wonderful Life" it seems to get more appreciation by it's second generation than it did it's first.
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