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Caesar And Cleopatra [DVD] 
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The most expensive movie ever made in Britain at the time, this breathtaking adaptation of Shaws epic was notoriously lavish. Shot in Technicolor and directed by Gabriel Pascal, the film was so extravagant that the director even took sand to Egypt to get the right cinematic colour. As Rome invades Egypt, Julius Caesar (Rains) stumbles across the young and unrefined princess Cleopatra (Leigh), sheltering in the Sphinx. Impressed by her spirit and intelligence, seduced by her charm he determines to make her Queen. Cleopatra learns about power and politics at the feet of a master but her downfall begins when she is seduced by Mark Antony. This witty, brilliantly designed movie features a memorable cast including Stewart Granger (The Prisoner of Zenda), Flora Robson (Wuthering Heights), Stanley Holloway (My Fair Lady) and a very young Jean Simmons (Great Expectations) as the harpist.
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Top customer reviews
But it is a joy to watch Vivien Leigh's sexy and spoiled child of a Cleopatra, alongside Claude Rains' gently wise and cynical Ceasar as they play out Shaw's view of what life should be like. The big surprise was Stewart Grainger - A big bold athletic part clothed in the most camp costumes imaginable!
Sets and filming all to the highest standards with no expense spared. Egypt was never quite so vast and gorgeous as it is here, even in the time of the Ptolemys. The Film is a delight, but don't expect Gladiator!
BUT... inexplicably, the famous scene from Act III of the original play where Cleopatra is smuggled to the beseiged Caesar rolled in a carpet has been cut out, despite the DVD having a scene entitled "A gift for Caesar"! This is like Macbeth without "Out damned spot" or Gone With the Wind without "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"; and it is for this reason that I award 3 stars rather than 5.
there is much artistic licence with the script vis-a-vis reality ~ "cleopatra" the DVD is nearer the truth. but this DVD has its merits. its sets are pared down allowing you to concentrate on the dialogue ~ and its damn good too. vivien leigh plays cleopatra as a coquettish young girl, growing in stature as the film progresses towards it inevitable conclusion. and although i dont find her 'cleopatra' authentic enough, its true to the GBS script.
claude rains is a kindly patrician and this too has its comic moments and is certainly emblematic of the caesar, as played by rex harrison 18 years later in the definative "cleopatra"
it is unfair to compare the two films. suffice to say the "caesar and cleopatra" is most definately in the genre of british theatre making it to the big screen, whilst "cleopatra" is most definately epic.
my recommendation is get both and judge for yourself. each has its place and both are deserving