Thursday, 27 September 2012

cleopatra (1963) - joseph mankiewicz

A sprawling epic that is waaay too long, was waaay too expensive and  certainly strayed from  historical accuracy (but was generally correct), Cleopatra was also the film that triggered the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor romance, and nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox along the way. Taylor (as a much too pretty Cleopatra) changes her outfits every three seconds (or so it seems), but stays pretty true to the men in her life, Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison), and later Mark Antony (Burton).  Caesar is betrayed and killed by his own senators ('Beware the Ides of March'), and Antony becomes so smitten with Cleopatra he makes poor judgements, leading to an unhappy ending for all.  Some of the set pieces are spectacular, such as Cleopatra's entry into Rome (despite the Arch of Constantine not being there at the time), and the love story itself can't really be faulted, but (I'll repeat) it is waaay, waaay too long, and it could have done with some serious editing.  Thankfully l didn't have to see this at the pictures / the movies / the flicks / the cinema, as, although it could have been done justice on the large screen, the FPO would have missed half of it going to the toilet, and l'd be complaining of a numb bum  (not for the first time).
However, it's still an extravagant enjoyable waste of your afternoon (if you are sitting comfortably at home).  Also featuring a young Richard O'Sullivan and an excellent Roddy McDowall!

toodle pip

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