Country: UK, USA, Switzerland
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Writers: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Ranald MacDougall, Sidney Buchman
When rumor says that James Cameron is going to shoot a new CLEOPATRA with Angelina Jolie, coincidently I was watching Elizabeth Taylor’s 1963 version, whose fame is spread through its anecdotes more than the film itself.
Speaking of the film, even after 50 years, one still cannot help gasping to breathe when sees all the spectacular settings, and most of the time, nevertheless, I was in a state of admiring clothes, buildings, props, small decorations and left the story behind, the glamorous vanity does some counter-force to undermine the story itself.
The film lasts more than four hours and is divided into two parts, the first half is between Cleopatra & Cesar, the latter half is between Cleopatra & Antony, simple and clear. Interestingly only Rex Harrison got an Oscar nomination for BEST ACTOR that year and the love/hate intertwined couple Elisabeth and Richard got nothing at all, whose real life story was even more appealing than the tragic Cleopatra.
There is no doubt I prefer the first half, the tension before Cesar and Cleopatra is exhilarating, compared to the second half, when everything turns into a vaguely kitsch love tragedy, at least the first part is much more convincing.
When the story became kind of funny and unbelievable, I lost my patience, the sea battle is missing its point, cost a huge fortune to make, how come there is no single exciting battlefield, maybe it’s Elizabeth Taylor’s will to make her the only focus, no one else should take her thunder, sadly she managed it and it is 20th Century Fox paid for the extra bills for her lavishly bloated showcasing.
If Cameron is surely to make a new version, Angelina Jolie is a sure-fire, but make sure that it is the director who makes the decision instead of actors. Hope there will be no collision cause between James and Brad-Angelina couple for the new version.