Thursday, June 27, 2024


Mark Antony (Richard Burton) and Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) in a 'fun' moment in CLEOPATRA (1963)

As I stated months ago, my views on this legendary movie has changed. I like it now. Does I still think it has tons of issues? Yes. None of my negativity of it has disappeared. I still think it's problematic but now I simply disregard them and view the movie has an epic achievement. I've watched it here and there and I realized how much I like this and that but disliked other parts as well. It's a HUGE movie. A very serious movie (one of my gripes). In the scene above, the couple are suppose to be enjoying a feast and of course, they don't. You sorta wonder why they're together since they always seem to be miserable. The movie should have shown happy moments. And this is the main problem I have with the movie: it's on cruise control. It's well directed and the script is well written but scenes happen one after another with little emotional impact. They're basically always the same tone. Once I realized this, my dislike of the movie disappeared. It's such a big movie that it couldn't afford to go off the rails, if you know what I mean. Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who also directed the equally super serious JULIUS CAESAR (see post below), knew what he was doing but, imo, he was too careful and the movie suffers from being too staid. It lacks liveliness. One scene has the same emotional impact as the next. But now with this in mind, I can finally enjoy it for what it is. It's spectacular and super serious, and sometimes mis-directed (the killing of Julius Caesar seen though the eyes of Cleopatra and her High Priestess is still a mistake in my's not the only 'mistake' scene), but it's quite the movie. I personally now prefer the second half over the first. There's something about Rex Harrison I just can't like. Peter Finch was cast initially as Caesar and he would have been pretty good (but maybe a bit too much like Burton). Harrison reminds me of a school principal or Professor Higgins. There are other actors in it who irk me but I have to say that Cesare Danova, as Apollodorus, is quite good. 

My previous rating was around 4. I now give it 7.5 out of 10. 


Anonymous said...

Very icy atmosphere. I feel that I am sitting at the table with Martha and George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). I want to get away quickly before the explosion.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I can't fault it. I think it is a truly great movie and an amazing achievement. There is no better version of the Cleopatra story.