Arts + Culture » Film + TV

Cleopatra

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (FOX)

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With the recent passing of Elizabeth Taylor, it’s a good time to revisit Cleopatra (1963), one of her most recognized films. It’s a big, bold, four-hour spectacle that ends up falling flat despite---or because of--- the extravagance. The story focuses on Cleopatra’s (Taylor) political and sexual exploits as she smooth-talked and seduced the most powerful men of the time, namely Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison) and Mark Antony (Richard Burton). However, fascinating characters get interrupted by elaborate sets, battles, and an over-the-top musical score. This is a big, intimidating film that also sometimes has the hazy quality of the original Star Trek where everyone looks like they’re in a sauna. If you can get past the fluff and ignore the historical inaccuracies, there are some enduring performances. Taylor in particular is fantastic to watch.

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