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Cleopatra [1999] [Dutch Import]

3.9 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Billy Zane, Timothy Dalton, Rupert Graves, Leonor Varela, John Bowe
  • Directors: Franc Roddam
  • Format: Full Screen, PAL, Import
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Dutch
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Run Time: 176 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000VZPVF8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,223 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

The epic saga of the Queen of Egypt. Leonor Varela plays Cleopatra, the Egyptian monarch who uses her wisdom, charm, ruthlessness, and seductive powers to work her way into the heart (and bed) of Roman leader Julius Caesar (Timothy Dalton). But Cleopatra shifts her romantic alliances to Marc Anthony (Billy Zane) just in time for Caesar's death and Anthony's rise to the throne. When Rome goes to war, however, Cleopatra realizes that she can only remain in power for so long, eventually making a late date with an asp when things get especially grim. This is at least the 12th film based on Cleopatra's life (the best-known being the infamously expensive 1962 version starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton).

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 16 Oct. 2004
Format: VHS Tape
I gave this film four stars because aspects of it were fantastic. The film as a whole was extremely good but when we break down the actual different aspects we arrive at a different conclusion. The acting for example is not brilliant, it is generally competent but in places it slips quite majestically. The special effects also leave a lot to be desired but the sets, costumes and dialogues are simply stunning. The costume in this film is particularly breathtaking and the sets are easily their equals. This film deals with issues that were not in the original, including the murder of Cleopatra's sister Arsinoe on the orders of Cleopatra. This film however lacks the power of the original 1963 Cleopatra simply because Leonor Varela lacks the same talent as Elizabeth Taylor. Obviously picked for her looks Varela often makes the character lifeless and wooden, devoid of the femiminity that attracted me so much to the original Cleopatra. In all it is an entertaining film but for your money I would buy the 1963 version, it may not be as historically accurate with regard to costume but it is in all a much better quality of film and one which can be enjoyed countless times.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Less campy (and less embarrassing) than the famous Liz Taylor epic yet not quite as sexy as the Claudette Colbert version, this Cleopatra is still highly enjoyable - so long as you are not a stickler for historical accuracy. Originally a television mini-series, its three hour length is easily digested in a single viewing. The pace and visual splendour keep you interested as the comic book-style script unfolds. The settings - Morocco for the exteriors, Shepperton Studios for the interiors - and well researched costumes offer a never ending feast for the eyes. Some interesting twists are added to the overly familiar storyline - the inclusion of Cleopatra's sister, for instance. A nice mixture of soap opera and sword and sandal epic to be enjoyed with an open mind and lots of popcorn.
The acting is surprisingly good although Billy Zane is a weird choice for Marc Antony. But timothy Dalton relishes his role as Julius Caesar, tossing off dialogue as if it were Shakespeare and dominating every scene he's in. equally good is Rupert Graves as Octavius whose multi-layered performance becomes more impressive as the film progresses. Of course, the key role is Cleopatra herself and Leonor Varela takes a pretty good stab at eclipsing memories of Liz. She is certainly more the right age and has the prerequisite exotic looks (I will confess to being fascinated by her nipples throughout). Just when you think her acting is running the risk of leaving splinters in her co-stars, she explodes with a sudden dramatic intensity and you begin to believe that this spoiled little girl could be the Queen of Egypt. I found this film the perfect way to pass a few hours on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
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By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 16 Mar. 2006
Format: DVD
This production of Cleopatra, intended originally as a miniseries on television, is a reasonably good production with significant differences from the block-buster Hollywood version starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison. Cleopatra here is depicted as someone striving to maintain her own position, not necessarily someone with an eye toward world-wide conquest. Cleopatra is portrayed as an inexperienced person (both sexually and politically) until tutored by the more experienced Romans. She comes to understand her fate is inextricably intertwined with Caesar, then Antony, but her love for Antony keeps her from making the politically expedient move of giving in to Octavian. Apparently two Roman rulers are enough for one lifetime.
Like the earlier film production, this one plays fast and loose with the actual history, albeit in different ways. The figure of Octavian/Augustus is far more present earlier here than he was in history; for a production that goes on the greater part of three hours, remarkably little detail about the history is brought forward, and I found that distracting. The last hour could have easily been recut into a half-hour, and some judicious editing throughout the rest of the film could make it into a much better paced two-hour film.
The acting was tolerable but generally unconvincing. Timothy Dalton as Julius Caesar, Billy Zane (who got top billing) as Marc Antony, and Rupert Graves as Octavian were not up to their usual acting standards in this production. Dalton was not very expressive, and Zane and Graves were overly so (Graves plays an almost flippant character, not at all in keeping with the historical Augustus).
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There are several 1 star reviews here where the writers are clearly more interested in trying to appear superior than in giving a fair appraisal. While the production has some faults it does not deserve the ignominy of one star. The acting is on the whole pretty good, the effects acceptable, and while not perhaps completely historically accurate ( what movie ever is?) it is certainly far more so than the more famous mega budget Taylor/Burton version. One "reviewer" refers to a scene where John the Baptist is beheaded. That alone should give you a good idea of the calibre of the "one star reviewers".
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