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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical epic or simple love story?
This film was derided by the critics as overblown, too expensive to produce and a relative failure. It is however a film that has lodged itself in our collective memories as one of the best purely entertaining films ever made.
Watching it on the theatre screen one is almost overwhelmed by the great set piece scenes of excessive splendour and the battle at sea...
Published on 29 Mar 2010 by D. Arrowsmith

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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 2 Disc edition is from a very bad print. Avoid.
I bought the 2 Disc edition because Cleopatra (Special Edition) [DVD] [1963] was unavailable at the time. This 2 Disc edition is most definitely not from a restored print, or even a good quality print. It looks *horrible*. The picture ranges from soft and smeared through very noisy to pebble dashed. The less noisy parts are terribly soft and smeared, with a...
Published on 6 April 2011 by Julian Hughes


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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Important Movie In Hollywood History, 31 Dec 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Cleopatra (3 Disc Special Edition) [1963] [DVD] (DVD)
Cleopatra is astounding on every level - the magnificent sets, the unique array of actors and, infamously, a production that almost cost 20th Century Fox its bankruptcy.
This superb 3 disc collectors edition restores Cleopatra to its original 4 hour 3 minute length, spread over 2 discs and shining with crystal perfection - both in picture and sound. A third disc is brimming with bonus material - including original theaterical trailers, still galleries and an amazing 2 hour documentary of the creation of the most important movie ever made.
Elizabeth Taylor is stunning as Cleopatra and, regardless of what you have read, she pulls off the role with ease - this is pure entertainment and a movie that will never be matched again. The biggest shame is that 2 hours worth of material is still lost - the directors intention was for 2 films running 3 hours long - totalling a 6 hour epic. However, lost footage found has been included in the documentary on disc 3 and you will feel a great uplift in seeing it. One day, the 6 hour film, as it was intented will be available, but until then, this 4 hour version is worth every second of your attention. This is a film that changed Hollywood forever and a film this good has never been seen since.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On Your Knees!, 9 May 2013
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Cleopatra (3 Disc Special Edition) [1963] [DVD] (DVD)
On your knees! It's something that Cleopatra her self shouts at a stunned Mark Antony, but it could quite literally have been shouted by many in Hollywood at 20th Century Fox as their gargantuan epic threatened to sink them. The trials and tribulations surrounding the film are stuff of legend, all of which makes for a film itself, but I will not go over old ground, there's a couple of great documentaries available out there and they are required viewing. They also help to explain somewhat why Cleopatra is not the genre defining classic many hoped it would be. Truth is is that no film could have lived up to the expectation that surrounded Cleopatra, as it is, with flaws and all, it's still a enjoyably lavish spectacle, harking back to a time when grandiose meant something. In fact a time of film making we could do with in today's day and age of retreads, remakes and soppy sequels.

Split in to two narratives, that of Caesar & Cleopatra and Antony & Cleopatra, film basically deals with how Rome sought to conquer Egypt as Cleopatra clung on grimly in power and affairs of the heart. A cast of quality thespians stand straight backed and deliver the plot machinations, set to the backdrop of magnificent ornate sets, period costuming, piercing photography and a pulse pounding musical score. Quite simply the grandeur and scope is stunning in its presentation. Not all the dialogue works, and there are passages of exchanges that come off as undernourished; while soap operatics take a hold in the second part of the film. Yet for the historical epic fan there is just too much that is great for this to be ignored or considered a stinker. From Rex Harrison - Elizabeth Taylor - Richard Burton & Roddy McDowall, to the opulence seeping from every pore, Cleopatra is a joyous eye opening experience. Yes! Flaws and all. 8/10
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cleopatra [Blu-ray] [1963] it is [Region Free], 23 Mar 2012
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I do not usually write reviews.Excellent transfer!Although not as spectacular as modern releases.I am so glad to see the respect this movie deserves.I purchased from amazon.co.uk. I received within a week and had no problems playing the Blu-ray in Canada.CLEOPATRA gets a wonderful 50th Anniversary release and fans will find it worth the wait.

Last, but not least, the UK blu-ray is region free (A,B and C). amazon.co.uk. is an excellent source.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very fun and lush, if riddled with laughable historical inaccuracies, 11 Mar 2012
By 
rob crawford "Rob Crawford" (Balmette Talloires, France) - See all my reviews
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This restored version - the 4-hour release that was immediately rejected by theatres as impossible to screen 2x per night, forcing more than an hour to be cut - is an absolute delight for the eyes. From the first minutes when Caesar appears, I was utterly riveted by the splashy spectacle, the evocation of a vastly different time, and acting that can only be called first rate. The only thing that threw me off, as a Roman history nut, was the ridiculous historical inaccuracies that could only be made by an ignoramus.

On the positive side, the drama is a complete success: Cleopatra, the last Ptolemaic queen of Egypt, uses her feminine attributes and fine mind to advance a dream of staying in power and perhaps even create a new empire based on Roman power. To do so, she seduces first Julius Caesar, who restores her to power in a civil war with her brother-husband, and bears him a son. Once Julius dies, she then seduces his lieutenant, Marc Anthony, eventually losing to the wily Octavian, Caesar's adopted son. In the process, she genuinely falls in love with Anthony, perhaps for the first time in her life. They die together by their own hand. Surely, this is one of the greatest dramas of power and love in the history of mankind and it is the basis of this film, executed to perfection.

The costumes, sets, and images of sex and power are wonderfully vivid, which the bluray version (I have the British one that is available for $10 in Europe) brings with the sharpest of clarity. Beyond the actors (whose salaries were the highest ever paid), these props are the reason for the cost of the film. In my opinion, they were worth every penny as there are few film experiences that could compete.

Finally, there is the acting. Taylor, just after her 1950s prime, is at her best as a politically savvy seductress, aging and scrambling to maintain her nation and heir in their positions of prominence. I found her convincing, astonishingly beautiful, and realistically shrewd. In my view, Rex Harrison believably projects the universal genius of Julius Caesar, whose calm in the face of overwhelming odds and ever-changing political calculus are implacable and unpredictable. McDowall is also a good Octavian, who he plays as a sleazy, effeminate conniver, ultimately perhaps the smartest of all. The only principle I feel does not give a subtle and interesting performance is Burton, whose Anthony, while flawed as a love-starved drunk, is blandly formulaic. The supporting characters, such as Agrippa, are not all that distinguished, with the exception of the courtier Hugh Cronin.

On the negative side, the script really needed a scholar as consultant. Given that Mankiewicz was re-writing the script while directing, this was perhaps impossible. It is a pity, because while most of the blooper inaccuracies do not detract seriously from the storyline, they were constant irritants kind of like a buzzing mosquito at night. For example, Agrippa appears as a middle-aged lieutenant of Julius Caesar, when the person with whom he rose to prominence was Octavian, his coeval. But there are bigger problems as well. Just prior to his assassination, Julius is shown as demanding that he be named King by the Senate, which he was far too subtle ever to do in life. This fundamentally distorts his character, making him more of a simple tyrant than a master manipulator whose end game, if he had one, will never be known due to his premature death. Finally, there are many political complexities that are left uncovered, such as Anthony's massive and unprecedented failure to conquer Parthia. Anthony also had many implacable enemies, such as Cicero, whose right hand he had nailed to the Senate doorway during the civil war that followed Caesar's assassination. I know I sound like a pedant, but given the lavishness of the production, why not have made it more accurate?

With all of its flaws, I still recommend this warmly. The extras are also excellent, such as the documentary of the chaos of its production.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed Masterpiece, 25 April 2002
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This review is from: Cleopatra (3 Disc Special Edition) [1963] [DVD] (DVD)
This revamped DVD of Twentieth Century Fox's 1963 folly is superb in virtually every aspect. The four hour version of the film is split between two discs with a third providing a hugely entertaining two hour documentary about the various machinations of the production exposing an almost unbelievable story of excess and stupidity. But far from being a $44,000,000 white elephant, Cleopatra comes across as a film of immense grace and style. A veritable plague of British character actors support the three principals and give solid performances throughout. Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar steals the acting honours in this cut with Richard Burton's Mark Anthony coming a poor second. However, the personality of Elizabeth Taylor dominates the film, with her astonishing beauty enhanced by some stunningly camp costumes and wigs. Her acting is adequate and occasionally very good, but her visual presence is everything and it is difficult to imagine any other actress at that time carrying it off. What we are seeing here is, of course, a heavily cut version of what was originally intended by the director Joe Mankiewicz. The two hours of missing footage is continuously referred to throughout the documentary and the running commentary and there must come a time when these deleted scenes are restored so that the original vision can be appreciated for the first time. One or two of these scenes are shown in the documentary along with a number taken from the aborted Pinewood version of the film. Alex North's score is simply brilliant, and the DVD captures every nuance perfectly. Compared to the crudity of 'Gladiator', Cleopatra appears positively poetic. A literate script, glorious music and costumes and real three-dimensional sets (even if the Arch of Constantine is wrongly referred to repeatedly as the Arch of Titus and wasn't built until more than three hundred years after the events of the film). My only complaint is that the end credits were not included and although presented in widescreen, there still appears to be some cropping at the edges. Never can it be said more appropriately of any film: 'They don't make them like that anymore'.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Was this well done of your lady?", 16 Nov 2002
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Cleopatra [VHS] [1963] (VHS Tape)
Forget the naysayers; Cleopatra is pure entertainment. Every one of its 246 minutes is filled with opulence and excitement. Elizabeth Taylor stars as the Egyptian queen who used her feminie wiles to make powerful alliances with both Ceasar (Rex Harrison) and Marc Antony (Richard Burton). She bore Ceasar's son, but lost everything in her devotion of Antony.
The grand scale of the film makes it a pleasure to watch, and not a guilty pleasure. Cleopatra's entrance into Rome is one of my favorite movie scenes of all time. No expense was spared in receating the glory of Rome and Egypt. The film is well-acted and well-written. Harrison's Ceasar is majestic and cunning, and Taylor and Burton still burn up the screen even after all these years. They don't make lavish spectacles like this anymore; enjoy it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the 'blood' in its making....., 21 Mar 2013
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This is technically a brilliant film, contestably the greatest of the 'epics'. Mankiewicz who disdained the genre, was said to have been lured by the purse, and then once committed, clearly set out to make the supreme visual extravaganza.

He succeeded spectacularly - and whilst 20th Century bled money uncontrollably - and along with Leon Shamroy and brilliant set designers, he created a truly sumptuous feast for the eye.

The script has all the clever signatures of Mankiewicz, but for me the real genius in the film is in Shamroy's flawless photography and lighting - for this benchmark achievement, alone surely worthy of any cinema-buff's library. Of course, as many other reviews confirm, this 20thCentury Fox Blu-ray transfer is superb, and one is fairly in awe of Deluxe's colour transfer as well.

PS. The 'extras are just as engrossing, and the documentary of the excruciating struggle to make the film is good enough to justify the cover price on its own. The discs also have some cute encoding: Even after removing and after playing many other DVD's, the player will still remember to resume at the exact left-off-spot.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - Could not wait for US Release, 14 April 2012
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Excellent picture quality as expected in Blu. Could not wait for the US Release & YES, it does play in all US Players!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one fantastic looking blu ray!! Why can't Fox treat all their releases like this?, 13 Mar 2012
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I am so glad to see the respect this movie deserves. This is one of the best blu rays Fox has released (here in the states or abroad). What a restoration they did to this film. The color and detail are fabulous on this region free blu ray. After seeing this, it really makes me angry with Fox not treating more of their classics with this much respect. It is hard to believe this movie is forty years old from looking at this blu ray. This four hour epic is spread over two blu ray discs. And I am thankful that Fox didn't "squeeze" the four hour movie on one disc! Seeing movies here in the states from studios cramming four hour movies on one disc, this is a sight for sore eyes. I have never seen this movie look so glorious! This is one disc that should get people holding out to jump on the blu ray bandwagon to dive in the format head first. It is sad that this is only released in UK and not here in the states, because so many people are going to miss the opportunity to appreciate this great restoration. Would like to see Amazon US put this title in its listings like they do other region free import blu rays.
Like I said, the movie is spread over two discs with special features on both discs. The best, to me, is the two hour documentary Cleopatra, The Movie That Changed Hollywood. What an eye opener this documentary is.
If you already own a DVD of this classic, do yourself the favor of upgrading to this wonderful blu ray.
Plus, it is not that expensive. I got mine for under ten US dollars! And it is well worth every cent.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Video, DVD and Now Bluray, 12 Feb 2012
I do not usually write reviews - this is my first. But I had to after watching this movie on bluray. I already had the film on DVD and was pretty pleased with the picture even on my 50" TV. However the transfer of this great film is stunning and the soundtrack has also had a major revamp. In these days of 'flash bang wallop' films it is great to sit back and watch a film which looks as good as modern equivalents without the usual standard modern mediocrity. Or perhaps its just a case of getting older and enjoying films I watched as a child. Anyway if your a fan its a must buy.
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Cleopatra (3 Disc Special Edition) [1963] [DVD]
Cleopatra (3 Disc Special Edition) [1963] [DVD] by Rouben Mamoulian (DVD - 2002)
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