Cleopatra (1963) is a English movie. Joseph L. Mankiewicz has directed this movie. Elizabeth Taylor,Richard Burton,Rex Harrison,Pamela Brown are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1963. Cleopatra (1963) is considered one of the best Biography,Drama,History,Romance movie in India and around the world.
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...
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Mankiewicz shaped the characterization to suit Liz Taylor's role... The movie follows her from the father-daughter romance with Caesar to the tempestuous man-woman contretemps with Marc Antony As the cunning, nubile daughter to Caesar's wise father, Liz is quite pleasing... She's expected to do much more acting as the womanly, passion-driven Queen, but she's more in control of the character when she's playing Caesar's pupil rather than Marc Anthony's teacher... Her high comedy exchanges with Harrison have quiet authority; her doomed romance with Burton never ignites The brilliant script by Mankiewicz covers the eighteen years leading up to the formation of the Roman Empire, starting with Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) meeting Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison) in Egypt, when he arrives as conqueror, and ending with her suicide when defeated by Rome and when her Roman general and lover Mark Anthony (Richard Burton) also ends his life The visual content of the film is stunning, especially Cleopatra's entry into Rome, carried on a vast throne-platform and bringing with her the son sired into Tarsus, and the vast battle of Actium The sets and costumes are among the finest ever created for the screen, but it is the literacy of Mankiewicz's script and the strength of his direction that give Cleopatra distinctions of great importance
Cleopatra is a film of myths. A massively troubled production combined with the extraordinary love affair between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton made for plenty of hype. But what really matters nearly 40 years on is the film itself. At this distance it is possible to see the film for what it is. A grand example of the final flowering of Hollywood. In 1963 it seemed old fashioned compared to the excitement of European cinema and what the critics perceived as new (many of their favourite films of that era now just seem dated and pretentious). But Cleopatra grows in stature with time. It is far from flawless. And certainly the second half is somehow not right. Whether the missing two hours will reclaim this part of the film is yet to be seen. But compared with Gladiator or similar modern epics, Cleopatra is a brilliant film with an intelligent script, stunning design, masterly and beautiful cinematography in 70mm (which sure beats 35mm and does justice to the intricate sets and design), an evocative and effective musical score and superb costumes and makeup. The big three, Taylor, Burton and Harrison are extremely good and in the case of Harrison, who has many of the best lines, brilliant. The supporting cast and especially Roddy McDowall are equally excellent. Cleopatra may not be a masterpiece but it is a superbly crafted and beautiful film. If it fails, it fails because of our expectations. Sit back, put your feet up and luxuriate in a quality of film-making that you simply don't see today! .... but I have always wondered what Miss Taylor thinks of this extraordinary film?
Fritz Lang's Metropolis is rightly regarded as a classic, but many reviews make note of the 'illogical' story and bad character plotting. Characters come and go without rhyme or reason, and the plot makes no sense, they say. Well, yes, but that's not Fritiz's fault, nor the movie's; Metropolis makes little sense because 55 minutes of the film was hacked out and destroyed, never to be seen again, by the US distributors. Of course it's gonna be a dog's dinner with an hour missing, ya clods!! The same is true of Cleopatra, and this is basically the only reason the film fell flat on its' 1963 release. It was originally intended to release Cleopatra as two three hour movies, the first dealing with Cleo's relationship with Caesar, the second her affairs with Marc Antony. Fox said no to this idea, and demanded a single four hour film instead. This decision is like taking Peter Jackson's Lord Of The Rings Trilogy and removing an hour from each film wherever an hours' worth can be removed...a recipe for incoherence and total disaster. So, with two hours of footage gone, major characters are reduced to glorified walk-ons, vital plot points and motivations are lost, and the story loses what LOTR has...length with the proper pacing. People will sit and watch 4 hours of Return Of The King because it flows properly. People will not sit and watch 4 hours of stitched together rough cuts...that's what Cleopatra is, even in the DVD roadshow edition...because what we have is something that is too bitty and haphzard to sustain interest. But there is still glory in Cleo....Roddy McDowall, Martin Landau and Rex Harrison all act their socks off, the sea battle is kick ass, and Liz Taylor looks pretty scrummy in Egyptian softcore porn clothes. And only a Gen Xer like me could love that hideously pompous overblown dialogue. Great film! For what it is. It just should have been TWO films, that's all. Real eyepopping trippy spectacle, done in a 'damn the money, full speed ahead' way that just doesn't happen any more. Like Casino Royale, Cleo is a wonderful disaster.
First of please note this is a review of the recent restored DVD version of the film not the savagely cut older version of the film. Having watched the documentary on this film it seems amazing this film was ever completed how the director managed to get anything even vaguely coherent to the screen is a minor miracle in itself. Cleopatra is a luscious period epic and it's clear no expense was spared on either scenery or costumes, gorgeous to look at but somehow unsatisfying at the end. The movie seems to lose it's way half way through as Rex Harrison departs so for me does the quality of this movie. It's difficult to tell whether this is due to over the top performances from Taylor and Burton or the forced cuts to reduce the running time. Roddy McDowell is the highlight of the 2nd half of the film and i'm sure Joaquin Phoenix must have researched his role for Gladiator here, McDowell's Octavian is chilling in the extreme. But the rest of the 2nd half of the movie descends into melodrama, where the 1st gave us the excellent Harrison restrained and regal as Ceaser the 2nd gives us real life lovers Burton and Taylor locked in an over-acted doomed romance. But throughout the film there are supporting actors giving first class performances that without the cuts would be interesting to see Martin Landau, Andrew Keir, Hume Cronyn and George Cole all have their moments it's just a shame there aren't more of them. If I could split my vote over the two halves of the movie the first half would get 9/10 the 2nd 6/10 as I can't I'm going with a 7/10 overall.
Once again I have watched the complete Cleopatra (or at least the complete Cleopatra available). In addition, because I watched the DVD version of the movie, I also was able to view the outstanding documentary "Cleopatra: The Film that Changed Hollywood". And, once again, I am all but overwhelmed by the movie. Elizabeth Taylor may very well be one of the most under-rated actresses of the last fifty years; her public private life has always overshadowed her acting ability. But it is not her notoriety that puts her in the same league with other two time Oscar winners like Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Tom Hanks, etc. In Cleopatra, as in George Stevens' Giant, she runs the gamut from adolescent to matriarch, from calculating queen to devastated lover, and rings every bell in between. But her performance alone does not make the movie. Not only is she supported by Burton, in one of his best screen performances, and Rex Harrison, in one of his best, Taylor's old friend Roddy McDowall gives the performace of his lifetime (how sad that a clerical error cost him his Oscar); we see a young Martin Landau, a young Carroll O'Connor, a young Jean Marsh, give performances worthy of anything they've ever put on screen since. The documentary points out that the original Mankiewicz cut of the film was 6 1/2 hours long and that Fox is currently trying to reassemble the film as originally cut. If they ever succeed in doing so, I would stand in line to see it in theatres and buy it on DVD the first chance I got. As a history freak, it more than satisfies; as a fan of brilliant acting, it wows! Everyone should see it at least once!