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  • Caesar and Cleopatra [VHS]
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Caesar and Cleopatra [VHS]


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Product Details

  • Actors: Claude Rains, Vivien Leigh, Stewart Granger, Flora Robson, Francis L. Sullivan
  • Directors: Gabriel Pascal
  • Writers: George Bernard Shaw
  • Producers: Gabriel Pascal, J. Arthur Rank
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Original recording reissued, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Fox Home Entertainme
  • VHS Release Date: July 5, 2000
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792845870
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,306 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Love and death in ancient times.

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Richard F. Grantges on November 24, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I own this on Beta and just saw the last half again on Satellite. I was greatly disappointed to find it is not available on DVD. Perhaps the poor reviews you have for it have not helped. This is a great play and movie. All the stars give great performances. Claude Rains is Ceasar as I want him to be -and believe he was. I love the bits of wisdom that GBS sprinkles throughout the script, e.g.,"There's a Roman who knows how to make men love him!" Vivien Leigh is a believable princess of Egypt. Rufio, the ideal Right-Hand Man. Pftatateeta, the perfect chief handmaiden for Cleo. Apollodorus and the British Slave both perfect in their roles. This is one of the small number of films I can see over and over and still enjoy, even though, or perhaps because, every line of dialog is familiar.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By R. C. Walker on March 22, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's our amazing good fortune to have this document of one of George Bernard Shaw's greatest plays, filmed during his lifetime so that he could author the screenplay as he wrote the original stage work. It is a monument to the magnificence, not only of Shaw, but of Caesar. It is also a monument to Shaw's brilliant playcraft, clever plotting, and canny application of humor. It goes without saying that Shaw was brilliant, since of course he was a socialist.

We have seen this story before, though differently told, when the wonderful Rex Harrison played Caesar to the talented Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra. (Both of these names should be written with a K, since that is how they were both actually pronounced.) It is an absolute truth about that later film that only the first half is much worth watching, since Richard Burton in the second half plays a lovesick puppy so well it's thoroughly disgusting. GBS avoids that pitfall by giving us a great Caesar and a delightful Cleopatra, and fabulous stars to play them.

Shaw's play tells the story of Caesar's occupation of Alexandria after his final defeat of Pompey, and his defense of his position against perfidious Egyptians and renegade Romans in the service of Ptolemy XIV, Cleopatra's prepubescent brother and husband. The text is a creation of the utmost cunning: nothing less than a successful imitation of Shakespeare (though mostly in a more modern idiom). Few writers other than Shaw would have attempted this feat, and fewer still would have been successful at it.

Mentioning Ptolemy XIV, I should mention his (and Cleo's) brother, Ptolemy XIII. They were both married to Cleopatra and each of them was pounding on her bedroom door by the time he was 10.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michael Welch on June 2, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Yes, those that complain that this 1946 film version of Shaw's famous play of the same name is mainly 'stage-bound' and the acting often seems 'stilted'-- well, sigh, they surely have a point.
Bernard Shaw himself (he did not die until the 1950s) is credited with the screenplay, which may have something to do with the criticisms. Shaw is very talky and hard to 'transfer' to motion picture standards of verisimulitude, but this movie has a beautiful, delightful Vivien Leigh, the incomparable Claude Rains, the beautifully dashing Stewart Granger, plus 'old friends' of the classic British cinema such as Flora Robson, Felix Aylmer, Basil Sidney, Stanley Holloway, Leo Genn, Francis L. Sullivan -- all who appeared in wonderful films like Laurence Olivier's 'Hamlet', David Lean's 'Great Expectations' and many other intelligent pictures of that pre- and post-war (WWII, that is) period. (There is even a very very young, but very lovely as always, Jean Simmons as a slave of Cleopatra who plays the harp.)
The picture attempts an 'epic' look, with battles yet noted I'm afraid by unconvincing stunt work and 'casts of thousands' sort of milling about -- and Cecil B. De Mille does this so much better than Gabriel Pascal, the director of 'Caesar and Cleopatra'. But I myself admit I love the Shavian ambience -- the intellectual activist actually attractive (in Shaw's plays at least!) to the winsome young woman; ... friendship, discussion and respect; thought as more important than 'action-adventure'.
If Shaw's plays do seem too dated to you and they generally bore you, yes, stay far away from this film!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Diane the Teacher on June 22, 2008
Format: DVD
This is one of the best movies that I've ever seen! George Bernard Shaw has written a play just as good as anything that Shakespeare could have penned. The cast was perfect, and the direction was on point!
Even the costumes and set designs were incredible. Add this to your movie collection!
Just one note: maybe Cleopatra was not African (black) as stated in an earlier review, but I do believe that
simply stating this rumor as an untruth would have been sufficient. Calling this untruth a "lie" was a bit strong!
However, I notice that whenever Africa is mentioned in even the slightest way people have a tendency to lose their minds a bit. We need to get over this visceral attitude!

Thank You.
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