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Cleopatra (Five Star Collection)


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Cleopatra (Five Star Collection) + Ben Hur/ Ten Commandments DVD DBFE (Bilingual) + Spartacus (Bilingual)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Pamela Brown, George Cole
  • Directors: Darryl F. Zanuck, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Rouben Mamoulian
  • Writers: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Appian, Ben Hecht, Carlo Mario Franzero, Plutarch
  • Format: Widescreen, Subtitled, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: Oct. 16 2001
  • Run Time: 192 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059HAQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #78,507 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Amazon.ca

This 1963 extravaganza, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, is certainly an epic historical drama with all the elements: elaborate sets, intricate costuming, name actors, a factual basis, and an overlong script (just over four hours). But the acting is well performed and the backdrops are lush, making this a film worth seeing. Elizabeth Taylor is Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen who seduces Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison) in a political move to hold onto her empire. When Caesar is killed in the Roman Senate, Cleopatra looks to Marc Antony (Richard Burton) for his support, practically enslaving him with her wiles. Taylor is dramatic in her role, at times overly serious, but stunning nonetheless as the woman described as "well versed in the natural sciences and mathematics. She speaks seven languages proficiently. Were she not a woman one would consider her to be an intellectual." While the film does seem to drag at moments, it deserves the four Oscars it won for cinematography, art direction-set direction, costumes, and special effects. Don't confuse this Cleopatra with the 1934 version directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Claudette Colbert. --Jenny Brown

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dave on July 13 2003
Format: DVD
I think Cleopatra is the best movie ever made, it is also the most expensive movie ever made costing twice more than Titanic in today's money, but it just didn't make it to the screen. Intended to be two movies, Caesar and Cleopatra & Antony and Cleopatra, three hours each. But partly because of the attention of the famous Taylor-Burton affair, Darryl F. Zanuck shamelessly ruined Cleopatra from its 6-hour two movies into ONE 3 hour 14 minute movie, which is the TV version, which is Horrible! But luckily, the 4-hour version, this DVD version, survived the brutal cutting of the film. This movie is the most beautiful movie I have ever seen. The sets, clothes, props, and music... they are just FLAWLESS! As many people know, Rex Harrison as Caesar and Richard Burton as Antony both got nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars, but because the movie was cut to one, they were nominated against each other in the same movie, and more importantly, their best scenes were cut because of the length, so none of them won (but they deserve to), and Roddy McDowell got nominated in the wrong section and his votes were canceled. Martin Landau was going to be nominated as Best Supporting Actor, but after the film was ruined, the Academy Awards dropped him. Elizabeth Taylor's best scenes were cut off that she was so angry she puked at the Premiere.
The Music of the film is the BEST. Till this Day, I don't know why the Oscars didn't give Cleopatra the award. Of course, Oscars didn't give Gone with the Wind, Gladiator, and lots of other film's beautiful scores the Oscar, it's weird.
How do I know about all about Cleopatra? I have ALL the books, interviews, and even the full movie shooting script of this movie, I am the biggest fan!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If "CleoTaylor" had not been so cheap, I wouldn't have bought it. But cheap it was, and despite the millions spent on it, cheap it will always be. It is the best example of how NOT to film a spectacle. Only Rex Harrison makes a true attempt to act, and with his death at midpoint, the movie descends into a public embarrassment for all involved. Liz Taylor had great beauty, but she walks and overacts her way through the movie, stripping the character of any dignity or grace. She is a shrew with emotional outbursts that are truly ugly. Burton must really have been drunk as he staggers through the part, the worst performance of his career, and with Taylor he gave some true stinkers. Reliable actors such as Roddy McDowell are so badly miscast that they do not understand their roles and butcher them one after the other. The spectacles are laughable. Taylor's entrance into Rome is so historically wrong and utterly over the top that it provokes snickers, not awe. The sea battle is too tame, too emotionless, and badly plotted. Almost any child in a bathtub could have done as well with his or her toy boats.
The colour is sumptuous, the costumes nonsense, the sets absurd, the direction a disaster at every point. Face it, beautiful as she was, Liz Taylor only acted well in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" thanks to MGM playing with the script to make it suit her and make a fool out of Paul Newman. The oscar she eventually won was one of Oscars biggest mistakes for she downright awful paired with Eddie Fisher. It is probably her miscasting as Cleopatra, that doomed the film to becoming one of the dumbest films, worst made films, of all time. All the other errors seem to have come from that. Poor Rex Harrison, he didn't deserve this atrocity.
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Format: DVD
'Cleopatra' is a four-hour, very talky and plotty yarn, set against some of the most elaborate and exquisite scenery ever put on film. It is also the ultimate example of Hollywood excess and movie star ego. With a very literate script and an outstanding cast, 'Cleopatra' should have been a blockbuster, and yet it comes across as a lumbering behemoth, beautiful and intelligent while also plodding and distant. Scene after scene goes by, with endless dialogue and exposition but very little action. It's as if Manckiewicz were filming a stage production, rather than a big budget feature. Kudos to the set and costume designers for their almost overwhelmingly elaborate creations, and extra kudos to Rex Harrison for virtually carrying the first two hours of the film. Cleopatra is a relic of a Hollywood age gone by; the age of the epic specatcle. Though worth the 4 hour time investment, it is not one of the all-time greats, and yet its sheer star power in the form of Elizabeth Taylor makes it a classic despite itself.
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Format: VHS Tape
The Elizabeth Taylor version of CLEOPATRA has taken quite a beating over the years, and its easy to see why: the film is elephantine, with an emphasis on making everything BIG; as such, it eventually sinks under its own weight.
It is difficult to imagine any other actress better suited to play Cleopatra, but Taylor does comparatively little with the role, coming off as less the complex Queen of the Nile than a luxury-loving little minx out for a slinky good time. Rex Harrison and Richard Burton fare a bit better, although not much. Still, the emphasis is on spectacle--and in spite of the big budgets, historic costuming, and mammoth sets it is really here that the film falls apart.
The problem, really, is that the film's spectacle is too imaginative and takes too many liberties. A good example is found in the role of Cleopatra herself: the historical Cleopatra considered herself Greek and probably wore Egyptian attire only for ceremonial occasions, but the film prefers to present her flatly in stereotypical fashion, when the truth would have been considerably more complex and entertaining. Much the same may be said for most of the characters in the film. As the film progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to accept these characters as anything else but movie stars playing parts.
And in terms of spectacle, in spite of all the money poured into it, the movie looks cheap. Sure, they had a budget of heaven only knows how much money, but they had to stretch it to costume so many people that the wardrobe department had to settle for nylon-looking material, and a great many of the sets betray the fact that they are sound-stage created.
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