I want to see this restored 50th anniversary presentaton on the big screen. I've only seen clips and seeing it on tv seems to defeat the purpose of the filmmakers.
Anyone else going or want to go? It's just over four hours long.
Isn't it a dreadful movie despite its enormous spectacle?
Yes, R2. It's very bad.
It's at 200 locations tomorrow but it's hard to find out where. Regal has it but so do other chains. Regmovies.com/cleopatra
The Cinemark Theater chain is showing it on Sat and Sunday. Matinee and Evening on Sat. and one matinee on Sunday.
Four hours plus 15-20 minute intermission was the original running time. The movie lost an hour when it went into general release following the road show run. This showing is in advance of the blu ray release so I assume it's the original road show full length version.
I am tempted to see it as this is the only chance to recapture some of the long gone brilliance that was 70MM Todd AO photography Of course, now it has been remastered for digital but the images will remain sharp which was the calling card for all 70MM formats in the 50's and 60's. Hope they show this on one of their bigger screens.
R5 here. I was wrong. The two showings Cinemark Theatres are tomorrow 5/22/13 just as OP mentioned... there is one more screening Sunday afternoon.
Does the Elizabeth Taylor estate still make profits from the Todd-AO process?
I wonder about that too R7
I want to see this for myself.
You'll see ALL the show in Todd-AO!
The Todd-AO Troll
This is the best part of the movie, reenacted in what used to be called a "Florida" room.
I'm sure it looks amazing, but it's one of those films that's an absolute CHORE to sit through.
Movie is worth seeing...on a large screen. Beautiful images, thousands of extras, thousands of costumes, wigs and headresses just for Taylor alone! And that eye makeup!! A truly overblown mess but definitely a curisosity piece from the 60's. In the 60's the hype surrounding this movie and the Taylor /Burton affair was all you read about. Condemned by the Pope for fucking out of wedlock! This does have a great musical score by Alex North. The two hour documentary (DVD and blu ray) on how the production nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox is worth seeing too.
The move got scathing reviews and was cut from four to just under three hours for the general release following the hard ticket big city 70MM engagements. But CLEOPATRA eventually recouped although the home studio 20th Century Fox never fully recovered. THE SOUND OF MUSIC managed to bring the studio back from the brink of disaster.
I saw it at the Egyptian Theatre in 2010. A couple of the surviving cast members were there including a very doddering Jason Robards. Very long but thoroughly enjoyed it. There was an intermission. I walked away impressed at how Elizabeth Taylor's outfit changed in every friggin' scene.
Cleopatra enters Rome... the image is compressed (squeezed) on this clip so it's not easy to watch.
R12- I have to agree with you. Still I have the blu ray on order. I am one of those who likes to collect road show films.... those were the days. Even if they were bad( GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS anyone?) I want them.
That was great R11! My favorite Taylor 'performance' remains her appearance on What's My Line?
Not much of an actress but the she was a STAH....
I'm sure it looks better on the big screen, as was it's purpose, however it just isn't a good movie. Words cannot describe how boring a movie it is.
Has anyone read Jess Walter's recent best-selling novel Beautiful Ruins?
It's the fictional and satirical story of an actress who had a small role in Cleopatra and had an affair with Richard Burton, when he wasn't busy with Liz. I hope it's been sold to the movies because it would make an intriguing film.
Anyway, the novel is in paperback now and is a great beach read if you're so inclined.
OP, here is the two hour documentary 'The Making of Cleopatra' in several parts. If you have the time, it's worth watching. It's included on the standard DVD and the soon to be released blu ray. It really goes into the problems on set, the delays, the affair, the illnesses and how the movie nearly bankrupted the studio.
If you have time, watch it. I think you'll enjoy it. To be honest, it's better than the movie LOL
Elizabeth Taylor shows more of a brilliant sense of humor and comic timing in the 5 minutes of that What's My Line? clip than she was ever allowed to use in any of her films.
You can see why friends and colleagues (and several husbands) thought she was such fun company!
Why did she never make an out and out comedy?
God bless, OP.
It's on TCM at least once a year, but I've never, ever been able to make it through even once.
Wasn't Stephen Boyd originally cast as Marc Antony? Why did he drop out after filming resumed after Liz's illness?
He would have been so much hotter!
Re that roadshow clip and the illustration that was used in all ads.
Originally ,the pained portrait only showed Taylor and Burton on the bed. There was a small portrait in the corner of Rex Harrison.. The actor was so incensed he threatened to sue 20th.... illustrations/ads/ were pulled and altered to include a full size Julius Caesar( Harrison) sitting to Taylor's right, on the left to the viewer. The block long billboard above the Rivoli, the NYC theatre where the film was to have it's premiere was altered as well. I recall that there were newspaper photos of painters being hoisted up to the billboard so that they could paint a large Rex Harrison image. That billboard was too large to take down and redo.
yes R27- and there are scenes in the documentary of Boyd that were shot prior to the production shut down when Taylor got sick. Peter Finch was originally cast as Caesar. I believe it was close to a year before the film resumed filming with new leads and a recovered Elizabeth Taylor.
R27-- he went on to other projects. And no doubt, the delays in shooting the first version (delays) probably prompted him from continuing. It's all in the documentary I linked.
[quote]the pained portrait only showed Taylor and Burton
Sorry, that should have been 'painted.'
Off-topic but I had to share:
Somebody has a YouTube channel with full versions of La Liz stinkers like [italic]Boom!, Secret Ceremony,[/italic] and [italic]X, Y and Zee.[/italic]
OMG...I would prefer seeing a restored version of "X, Y, and ZEE" instead!
Some trivia: Francesca Annis had a minor part in the movie. She played one of Cleopatra's handmaidens.
We still call them that R11.
Roddy McDowell looked kind of hot in this.
Carroll O'Connor also has a small role.
I was young and impressionable when the film opened, and I idolized Richard Burton. I saw it four times, and still enjoy it.
I saw a restored version at an art-house theater two years ago, and it's absolutely worth seeing on the big screen. Yes it's long, but it's 3+ hours of full-blown 1960s spectacle. And while it's not a masterpiece of acting or scriptwriting, it's certainly not as bad as the legend that surrounds it would have you believe. Liz delivers a number of zippy one-liners and looks generally fantastic, though her weight amusingly fluctuates from one scene to the next. Burton as Anthony looks sweaty, bloated and drunk throughout. Rex Harrison comes off much better as Caesar.
Beyond the camp (and there is camp for days: chiffon! wigs! eyeliner! glitter! muscular slaves!), it's interesting as an entirely pre-digital film. Every set, every costume, every special effect (including a full-blown naval battle) was actually created and filmed (rather than done in CGI), something you would never see today.
DataLounge favorite, Jessica Chastain went to a "Cleopatra" screening at Cannes:
(WARNING: link to DailyFail)
Oh, I thought this was about the Gina Torres show. Good times.
I love attending star studded reunion screenings. Count me as a 'go'!
even the extras have died^^
I've been watching the linked documentary on the making of the film and it's pretty obvious how much better the film became once Mankiewicz took over, at least in the visuals, sets and costumes. Liz looks like a cheap stripper in the earlier Mamoulian version.
Just watched 7 parts of the Making Cleopatra doc which is almost comprehensive, but is there a part 8? I couldn't find it.
That's a shame... yes there should be a conclusion to the documentary. The whole thing ran a bout two hours as I recall.
did you try typing in the title followed by Part 8?
"Cleopatra" would've been better with Joan Collins.
That movie needs a good editor. Way too long and wordy.
BT, DT, back in the day.
"Anyone else going or want to go?"
I'd prefer something less painful. Like root canal.
At least a root canal doesn't go on for four hours.
[quote]That movie needs a good editor. Way too long and wordy.
It's funny how it defeated it's purpose - it almost bankrupted FOX. Ultimately it needed Darryl F. Zanuck.
I caught a good hour and a bit of Cleopatra when it was on tv a few years ago. Middle bit im guessing.
Was expecting it to be OTT trash with a bad script to boot. Could have been I had such low expectations. But was surprising to find it reasonably watchable and the script so literate
Dont know if I could have sat through whole 3 hours at Cinema though.
I would watch elizabeth in anything-my mom taught me to idolize her. Cleopatra really needed to be made into 2 separate movies-overly long for one and I have read that some good scenes were left on the cutting room floor.
[quote]I would watch elizabeth in anything-my mom taught me to idolize her.
Don't you have your own idols?
While it is indeed way too long and boring, it is still notches above those old Cecil B DeMille Biblical campfests like The 10 Commandments and Samson and Delilah.
But not nearly as good as Ben-Hur.
Or deMille's Claudette Colbert Cleopatra, which though campy, is quite sexy.
The dialogue is marvellous in it, particularly Rex Harrison's as Caesar in the first half. The sets are staggeringly opulent, I like that panorana shot across the bay of Alexandria as Caesar arrives, and I love the score by Alex North, my best friend had the soundtrack album back in that pre-video world.
I caught its initial release and it looks marvellous on the big screen, like those close ups of Liz in the tomb at the end, and of course that entry into Rome. She is surprisingly effective and the many costumes and hairdos are eye-catching.
I love that hiliarious scene when she makes Burton (who is annoyingly awful as usual) kneel before her: "I asked it of Julius Casear, I DEMAND it of you".
First, thank you op for making a thread on it. I would have missed it had it not been for your thread.
I was able to see it today. I've seen it tons of times but to see it on the big screen made the trip worth it. Just like r57 said, the dialogue was full of wit and sarcasm that I don't think I appreciate until today. It must have been watching it in theaters that made the difference because I felt as though I was able to fully understand every line said.
My theater had about 10 people I would say. I secretly hoped I would be flying solo. Fantasy of my own private theater dashed.
[quote]I saw it at the Egyptian Theatre in 2010. A couple of the surviving cast members were there including a very doddering Jason Robards.
He was probably doddering because he'd been dead for ten years. It has that effect.
Cleopatra as a subject for films seems to have a history of hard luck. The Theda Bara film is lost. The Claudette Colbert version is a camp classic. The Liz Taylor Cleopatra is a butt-busting bore.
Vivien Leigh played the part opposite Claude Rains in the 1945 British film version of Shaw's CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA. This lavish but talky color spectacle was the most expensive film ever made in the UK at the time of its release. It was a box office flop. Still, it is worth a look and it is available on YouTube.
I saw it yesterday. Much better than I was expecting, especially the first half with Rex Harrison as Caesar. Lots of wit and clever asides, and all good acting.
The second half was not as successful because Marc Antony was a bit of a wimp so it was hard to root for him.
Taylor was sensational as were her costumes and make up, although her unchanging lipstick (sphinx pink) was a little distracting, as was her tracheotomy scar.
So glad I saw this on the big screen. The spectacle was eye-popping and despite the length it flew by and I wasn't bored for a second.
Some guy posted on Twitter he was the only person in the theater in North Carolina where the film was showing.
It seems TCF and the exhibitors did nearly zero promotion for this event. I had to search high and low to find a screening.
[quote](...) and all good acting.
What?! Are you sure you saw "Cleopatra" (1963)?
I saw it for the first time last night. Yes it's ponderous and almost humourless and goes on forever but it's not a bad movie at all. It's well-acted and has some good dialogue and its certainly spectacular. It's not nearly as dumb as something like The Ten Commandments.
I want to see [italic]this[/italic] movie.
I liked how Burton always has a drink handy, even in the middle of the sea battle.
The acting seemed fine to me, for the genre and time period. There's no one as risible as Heston, not even Dick.
Yes, I noticed there were no unintentionally funny lines or hambone acting. Every actor and actress, from Harrison and Taylor all the way down to the soldiers and handmaidens did aa reputable job.
And Harrison found the humor in his lines and in the situations with a spoiled girl-queen.
I also appreciaated the near-nudity of Taylor in more than one scene, but especially in a massage scene where her entire side is nude - bosom to backside, and beyond.
I always thought Elizabeth Taylor was from a British family. I did not know that her parents were Americans from Kansas.
OMG, that nude scene -- she would be considered obese today.
[quote]I always thought Elizabeth Taylor was from a British family. I did not know that her parents were Americans from Kansas.
Because of that phony Transatlantic accent, she learnt at MGM?
[quote]OMG, that nude scene -- she would be considered obese today.
That was a good angle. She looked bloated in most of the movie.
[quote] Because of that phony Transatlantic accent, she learnt at MGM?
No, because she was born in a London suburb and was a British citizen. Every biography of her mentions that.
[quote]No, because she was born in a London suburb and was a British citizen. Every biography of her mentions that.
Oh, yes of course. Still, her parents moved back to the US so that accent definitely didn't come from her Kansas parents.
She moved to the US when she was seven.
You are right r63. Had it not been for OP, I wouldn't have known.
I thought I read she moved to the US when she was three.
She was a very beautiful girl and young woman, but by the time she met Burton she looked like a blowsy drunk. I don't get why they were thought to be a glamorous couple.
[quote] I liked how Burton always has a drink handy, even in the middle of the of a sea battle
I'll bet it wasn't a stunt drink
[quote] I don't get why they were thought to be a glamorous couple.
The media said so.
I guess the media hyped them as a couple because of all of her marriages. She had a Lindsay Lohan-like harshness to her by the time she did Cleopatra.
Liz's makeup in the 1960s....lots of black eye mascara, blue or violet eyeshadow and graphically drawn black eyebrows combined with pale pink lipstick and pale cheek rouge was the rage of the day but today appears very harsh and aging.
She would have been much happier if she had been a fat, friendless middle-aged homosexual, posting away on DL, but with perfect, flawless skin.
"Cleopatra" would have been better with Joan Collins"
Now THAT'S camp.
Mankiewicz wasn't going for camp -- the fifties and early sixties were filled with sword-and-sand epics, biblical and otherwise, and they really wanted to make something better.
He later said they made a good picture -- not a great one, but a good one. With 50 years hindsight, I believe he was right.
Well, she certainly did the fat and friendless part for a good deal of her life, R84.
She would only meet people who would give her jewelry.
One thing that helped me enjoy the picture was that I didn't know the story or how it turned out. I'm glad I didn't see any spoilers in advance, and although I did know the fate of Julius Caesar (Et tu, Brute?)and Cleopatra (Charles Addams said at the premiere his favorite part was the asp) I didn't know about Cleopatra's son or how her fate and Marc Antony's fate were intertwined.
I saw "Land of the Pharaohs", R85, and I thought it was better than "Cleopatra". Joan's full screen-test for "Cleopatra" used to be on YouTube.
It was camp, more interesting camp than "Cleopatra", it did have a smaller budget, but it was much livelier and entertaining than that dull, overwrought mess. Actually, when one considers "Cleopatra"'s huge budget, the movie itself is a slightly underwhelming.
For anyone who saw the movie this past Wednesday.
In the opening credits of the remastered digital version you saw, did one of the title cards say ---
Produced in Todd-AO?
If so what you saw was the original road show version and not the general release (edited) that came a year or so later.
The Todd-AO Troll
In the documentary Making Cleopatra, it said that by the time the shoot was over, Taylor had earned not the initial 1 million dollars, but 7 million dollars on it due to delays in scheduling, even though she was the cause of most of the delays.
The Caesar/Cleopatra bit is great fun...
The Anthony/Cleopatra bit...did these actors even know each other?
It was the four hour, three minute version, plus 15 minute intermission. There was even an overture and exit music.
So it was the roadshow so it had to have the Todd-AO logo during credits. Thanks so much R96. It's playing here again sunday afternoon. I may go even though I am buying the blu ray. Would love to see it on the big screen properly. I saw it when it first came out when I was 13. St. Louis. Still have the sovenir program that was sold in the lobby of the beautiful Ambassador Theatre now sadly gone.
The 'old' Todd-AO Troll who misses the roadshow experience.
If you have any interest in it at all, I highly recommend you see it on the big screen. You won't be disappointed!
Anyone going tomorrow?
"One thing that helped me enjoy the picture was that I didn't know the story or how it turned out."
In that case you might also enjoy The Passion of the Christ.
Has anyone else noticed how Rex Harrison's costumes enitirely cover his body? Strange for Roman clothing...I think only his haed and hands are ever visible.
Did he have body issues?
Irene Sharaff, Oscar winner
Who would have wanted to see his body, Irene?
I dislike Rex Harrison. They should have gotten a more attractive actor.
Stephen Boyd, below:
I think I will R99. Maybe. I would like to see it on the big screen.
The Todd AO Troll
The Todd AO Troll, what are your thoughts on "South Pacific" (1958)?
Ceasar was quite a bit older than Cleopatra when they met. Harrison was perfect.
[quote]Ceasar was quite a bit older than Cleopatra when they met. Harrison was perfect.
The movie is hardly a bastion of historical accuracy, taking artistic license to make Caesar younger would not have bothered me. Although, really what I dislike is Harrison himself, not merely his advanced age. I would have preferred someone else.
You mean Cleopatra didn't enter Rome riding a giant sphinx?? I'm shocked!!!!
R105- I enjoyed SOUTH PACIFIC when I saw it in it's proper format in 1968 at the UA 150 theatre in Little Rock. It was a reissue but it was the 70MM presentation. I also have the blu ray. I am probably the only person who really doesn't mind the color filters. The only one. I thought Mitzi Gaynor was fine as Nellie Forbush although, I have to admit, I would have loved to have seen Doris Day in the role. Adored John Kerr.. loved looking at Kerr with those dog tags hangin from his bare chest. LOL. Ray Walston was good. The only weak link for me was Rossano Brazzi as Emile. France Nuyen was a lovely Liat. So was Juanita Hall although why they didn't use her vocals in the movie is beyond me. She was the original Bloody Mary on stage! Yes, no complaints here about Joshua Logan's SP. Although what do I know? I also loved the movie version of CAMELOT (blow up 70MM) and that's on most everyone's hate list. :)
Not that you asked but two movies I never got to see in their original 70MM formats -- OKLAHOMA! (Todd-AO) and WEST SIDE STORY (Super Panavision 70). I saw THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the Rivoli Theatre in NYC twice in one week. That film on that enormous curved screen was breathtaking experience to this then 15 year old.
The Todd- AO Troll aka kcguy,a big fan of the roadshows.
Thank you, Todd-AO Troll.
Is it on again today?
Yes 2PM and I am going thnaks to the recommendations on this thread. I tis achore to sit thorugh but really want one more chance to see it on a large scree.
The Todd AO Troll
[quote]The movie is hardly a bastion of historical accuracy, taking artistic license to make Caesar younger would not have bothered me.
It's not a question of historical accuracy. The rivalry between the older Caesar and the younger Mark Anthony both infatuated with the same young Cleopatra is an integral part of the legend.
You sound like one of those clueless oafs who is too easily impressed by the endless note Streisand holds at the end of "Before the Parade Passes By" to notice how absurd it is for a 26-year-old Dolly Levi to sing in defiance of her impending old age.
Thanks R98- Based on your recommendation,
I went this afternoon and I enjoyed it. Even if it is 4 hours! Looked great on the big screen. Sad to think that of all the major speaking roles, Martin Landau and Francesa Annis are the only actors that I know are still living. I'd say that the theatre was almost full although it was in one of the smaller capacity auditoriums. Did some checking and Joe Hyams and Walter Wagner, (film's producer's) book, "My Life With CLEOPATRA" is getting a paperback reissue in June. Pre -ordered it on amazon. Sounds like a dishy fun read.
You're IN the show with Todd-AO!
I wish I had seen it with a crowwd. There were about 10 people Wednesday matinee in an auditorium that seats 200.
[quote]You sound like one of those clueless oafs who is too easily impressed by the endless note Streisand holds at the end of "Before the Parade Passes By" to notice how absurd it is for a 26-year-old Dolly Levi to sing in defiance of her impending old age.
It ALWAYS comes back to Babs, doesn't it?