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Antony and Cleopatra

3.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Richard Johnson, Patrick Stewart, Janet Suzman. Two of history's most famous lovers are caught between their consummate passion for each other and the struggles for power among rulers of the Roman world. 1974/color/161 min/NR/fullscreen.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Johnson, Janet Suzman, Rosemary McHale, Mavis Taylor Blake, Darien Angadi
  • Directors: Jon Scoffield
  • Writers: William Shakespeare
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: June 22, 2004
  • Run Time: 161 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002235QM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,262 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Antony and Cleopatra" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is a brilliant performance of Antony and Cleopatra..... and I say this as a reader/viewer who normally likes to read but not watch Shakespeare. Janet Suzman as Cleopatra is at least as fine a Cleopatra as Liz Taylor (and infinitely superior to Leonor Varela's embarrassingly adolescent portrayal), but Richard Johnson as Antony is so marvelous that you can only think of Richard Burton as an unappealing weakling after watching Johnson. What a marvelous Antony - FINALLY you can begin to understand why Cleopatra loved him! And don't miss a younger Patrick Stewart as a very dramatically effective and engaging Enobarbus. This is a film that bears repeated watching; I've watched it three times in one week and will undoubtedly view it far more than most videos on my shelf. The staging and sets aren't noteworthy but you don't even need them because the acting (filmed very closeup) is so superb. This deserves to be a classic. Don't miss it.
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By A Customer on March 11, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
I've seen this play on film and on stage, but this British television version is by far the best version I've seen. Richard Johnson seems to be EXACTLY the embodiment of Marc Antony that Shakespeare must have envisioned - pure poetry and agony. And Janet Suzman channels Cleopatra in a way that is almost spooky (Cleo lives!). I also personally love the set design, which is solely used to create the mood of the characters and plot. This is like a stage play, in that it allows the viewer to focus on the characters, not on locations (I'll leave that to the deeply inferior movie version that plays the story out like an over-produced historical document). Trevor Nunn proves that one doesn't need lavish productions in order to recreate great Shakespeare. Just get some great actors on an open set and let the magic happen!
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
I'm not sure what the above reviewers were looking for, but I have had an English bootleg of this production for years, and have never seen a better one. Janet Suzman and Richard Johnson wowed all of the English critics when this RSC production was onstage. And Patrick Stewart won every supporting actor award that season. And, it's directed by the great Trevor Nunn. Nuff said! I'm glad to get a new DVD copy of this production. Any classical theater fan or Roman history buff needs to have this one in their collection.
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Format: VHS Tape
Shakespeare's plays are essentially theatrical, and difficult to bring off on screen. This production succeeds admirably in many respects. It doesn't go for visual spectacle: quite apart from anything else, it couldn't hope to compare on that score with the Hollywood Burton/Taylor extravaganza. Instead, with a minimum of props or sets, it focuses on the actors' faces, and on the verse. And when Patrick Stewart, as Enobarbus, describes Cleopatra's first meeting with Antony ("the barge she sat in, like a burnished throne..")the viewer's mind may conjure up for itself spectacles far more impressive than anything Hollywood has to offer.
Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra are both middle-aged, looking back on past glories and haunted with the awareness of failing powers. They are among Shakespeare's greatest creations, and Johnson and Suzman capture superbly their complexities. Corin Redgrave's Octavius, however, is more controversial. Certainly, Octavius is a calculating politician: but should he really be so ice cold, and devoid of emotion? This presentation seriously unbalances the play. The wonderful scene where he expresses grief on hearing of Antony's death here passes for nothing, for we simply cannot believe that Octavius - as presented here - is capable of feeling anything at all.
The other problem with this production is the text: most Shakespeare plays can stand a bit of judicious cutting, but the cuts here are so extensive, that the text is effectively mangled. Would another forty minutes or so really have over-taxed the viewer's attention span?
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Directors of "Antony and Cleopatra" must decide what story to tell. Should it be the geopolitical conflict between East and West, the refined culture, hedonism and mysticism of Egypt versus the stern militarism and morality of Rome (and its Judeo-Christian legacy)? Or, should it be a tragi-comic near-melodramatic story of great lovers torn apart by war and their human frailty, but finally united in death? Or, should it be a chilling power struggle, stuffed with machiavellian deceit, betrayal and murder? Trevor Nunn's Royal Shakespeare Company production succeeds in telling all three stories, remains faithful to Shakespeare, and provides entertainment that is easy for contemporary audiences to enjoy. Given Nunn's success with this play and others, why are so few RSC productions of Shakespeare available in the United States?

Nunn elegantly portrays the difference between Rome and Alexandria. Rome is presented as if in a bare, large, air-conditioned, brightly lit room. The background is pure white. Caesar and the Romans look clear eyed and freshly showered, shaved, with hair cut short and neatly combed, wearing pure white robes, so unwrinkled they might have been starched. Everything is simple and transparent, there is right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood, and one's duty is to do right. That is, one's duty is to faithfully serve Octavius Caesar.

In Egypt nothing is pure or simple. The air feels thick and objects appear hazy, as if seen through a fine gauze. Intimate rooms glow warmly with gold, silken-satin colored fabrics, richly embroidered tapestries, and immense luxuriously upholstered cushions. Ancient flutes and harps provide music, the moody food of love.
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