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., Julius Caesar (Sir Rex Harrison) pursues Pompey from Pharsalia to Egypt. Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII (Richard O'Sullivan), now supreme ruler after deposing his older sister, Cleopatra VII (Dame Elizabeth Taylor), attempts to gain favor with Caesar by presenting the conquerer with the head of Pompey, borne by his governors, Pothinus (Grégoire Aslan) and Achillas (John Doucette). To win Caesar's support from her brother, Cleopatra hides herself in a rug, which Apollodorus (Cesare Danova), 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 (Loris Loddi), 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 (Richard Burton), Caesar's protégé, beholds Cleopatra...Written by
Stanley Baker was set to play Rufio, but demurred over taking the part because there was no script available. By the time he decided to take it, the part had gone to Martin Landau. 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 »
Why are you not dead? Why do you live? How do you live? Why do you not lie at the deepest hole of the sea, bloodless, and bloated, and at peace with honorable death?
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Premiered at a length of 243 minutes. A week after the premiere, the film was reduced to 222 minutes, and edited further to 194 minutes for general release. The 194-minute version was the default broadcast television version for years; home video and cable television releases are of the full-length cut. See more »
This is not a perfect movie. No one has ever suggested it is. That said, it is much better than you may have been led to believe. Technically, it is superb, with sets, costumes, cinematography, music, etc., apparently unattainable by today's filmmakers. If you doubt this, watch "Gladiator" immediately after watching "Cleopatra". The technological weaknesses of the former are stark and unavoidable when compared to this film. The first act, especially, is without equal. Rex Harrison, as Caesar, dominates the screen and gives the performance of his life (Henry Higgins not withstanding). He earned his "Best Actor" Oscar nomination, and then some. The second act suffers, more likely than not due to the merciless re-editing by the studio that saw two hours of film hit the cutting room floor, and major roles like those of Cronyn and McDowall reduced to little more than bit parts (Mankiewicz originally envisioned this as two films, not one), from an occasional lack of cohesion I tend to think was not in Mankiewicz' screenplay. While La Taylor is ravishing throughout, she sometimes appears to be in a bit over her head. Again, this is more apparent in the problemmatic second act. There has been an active search for years by the Mankiewicz estate, and others, to find the missing elements from his original cut and restore "Cleopatra" to what he envisioned. This may yet happen. I hope it does. In the meantime, this newly restored roadshow version is most welcome.
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