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.
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
The blame for the incredible troubled production, accelerated production costs, and massive financial failure of Cleopatra (1963) can be pointed at the following: (1) the studio's initial insistence that the film should be made on a B-movie budget; (2) the studio's initial decision for the film to be shot at Pinewood Studios in England, which resulted in endless array of bad weather, deteriorating sets, and Elizabeth Taylor's health problems which resulted in pneumonia; (3) Fox President Spyros A. Skouras and producer Walter Wanger's first decision on Rouben Mamoulian as director, which resulted in many creative differences between Mamoulian and Taylor, Peter Finch, and Stephen Boyd, as well as his inability to handle the production's problems; (4) Fox's endless rejections to give Joseph L. Mankiewicz more time to write and refine the script, as the studio was very anxious to get the film made and finished immediately; (5) the low quantity of cash Fox could afford to pay for the ever-growing production expanses of Cleopatra, due to the studio's financial problems; (6) Elizabeth Taylor's prima donna behavior all throughout the production; (7) the Elizabeth Taylor-Richard Burton affair and its surrounding media frenzy; (8) Spyros A. Skouras' selfish preferences and inexperienced micromanagement on the film's production. Not even his showmanship made up for his considerable lack of filmmaking in speeding up production on Cleopatra; and (9) Darryl F. Zanuck's ultimate decision to reject Mankiewicz' proposal to present Cleopatra as two separate, three-hour pictures (to preserve all of the useable footage) and to present the film as a one whole, edited picture, in order to capitalize on the Taylor-Burton affair. See more »
In Mark Antony's bath scene, a bright yellow plastic sponge is floating on the surface of the water. See more »
[admiring his armor]
And I find what you're wearing most becoming. Greek, isn't it?
I have a fondness for almost all Greek things.
[referring to her Macedonian ancestry]
As an almost all-Greek thing, I'm flattered.
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Joseph L. Mankiewicz laughed the last. His goal a diptych to be released separately, rich in Shakespearean's tragic force, ample in scope, but intimate in tone- was betrayed by 20th Century Fox's chairman Darryl F. Zanuck, who butchered it into a four-hour film. In spite of all the troubles surrounding its production, "Cleopatra" defined big cinematic spectacle for me: I was 12 years old and saw it on a Cinerama screen. It was huge, and it was grandiose. Elizabeth Taylor carried the movie on her back, but she had not developed into a full dramatic actress yet; and Leon Shamroy's Oscar-winning cinematography ranged from dramatic lighting to flourishes of color that resemble the light show of a cabaret in La Habana. But the story was compelling, and everybody gave their best. It also became the entrepreneurial model for pre-selling movies before the cameras rolled. It did not have very good reviews, and 1960's yellow press, which had nothing to do with Mankiewicz's reflection of power and love, tarnished its values. By the 1980s a tendency to reevaluate the movie had grown, and moreover it became an icon of the big historical Hollywood spectacle. Not a masterpiece by scholars' standards, it is nevertheless the big opus in the career of Mankiewicz, maker of "All About Eve."
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