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Caesar and Cleopatra [VHS] (1946)

Claude Rains , Vivien Leigh , Gabriel Pascal  |  NR |  VHS Tape
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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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 (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792845870
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,556 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
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't See How It Could Be Better 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
5.0 out of 5 stars The magnificence of Shaw and Caesar 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
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Still A Delight! Really It Is!... 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
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! June 22, 2008
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but very dated. I watched this to see ...
Interesting but very dated. I watched this to see Vivien Leigh in a pre Gone withthe Wind role. Her characterization was very much the same-Cleo and Scarlett. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Dolores M. Blum
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacle without CGI
Seeing Vivien Leigh and Claude Rains in the title roles is a treat, and a young Stewart Granger steals scenes from both. Flora Robson is wonderful as Totateeta, Ftatattota... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Adele Graham
4.0 out of 5 stars Collecting Vivien Leigh films
I collected this film because Vivien Leigh was in it. The story line on this particular film deals with the adolescent Cleopatra VII, which may not be the most impressive period in... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Marilyn
2.0 out of 5 stars A not to well-done Korean knockoff DVD version
A great well-acted film cursed to be on a poor not to well-done Korean knockoff DVD version. Images were fuzzy at times and there was some periodic momentary freezing experienced... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Robert A. Dalton
5.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs up!
Caesar and Cleopatra is a classic! Vivien Leigh's costumes and make-up are out of this world. It's obvious that the producers went way over their budget. Read more
Published 2 months ago by pam
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent product. Excellent service.
Published 3 months ago by Pyramid
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the best adaptation I've seen
Not the best adaptation I've seen. Actors seemed mismatched to the plot and it dragged along so that I gave it up before it was over. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jane Ford
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BEST CLEOPATRA
This is my favorite Cleopatra movie.!!! A great cast, the best interpretation of Cleo and a great performance Claude Rains as Caesar. Read more
Published 4 months ago by JEROME W, MARTIN
2.0 out of 5 stars George Bernard Shaw's film
Appealing many years ago, GBS's ideas and screenplay do not have the same attraction as they once did. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ashenden
4.0 out of 5 stars Still a great classic
We love these older movies because the actors really express their craft, there is no computer generated special effects only good acting.
Published 6 months ago by Howard L. Kitter
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