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Cleopatra Blu-ray 1963 An Opulent Classic,
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This review is from: Cleopatra [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Cleopatra may be the most opulent motion picture of all time and is a testament to Elizabeth Taylor and the other actors and artisans from this pre-computer generated image era. It was a high point for the magnificence of Todd-AO 70mm and the unique richness of De Luxe Color - all beautifully and faithfully transferred by 20th Century Fox to this new Blu-ray edition. I saw Cleopatra in its first run and recognized it's short-comings possibly caused by the severe cuts made to Joseph Mankiewicz's original vision to release Cleopatra, it is said, as two films telling the Caesar story in one film and the Anthony story in the second. One can only imagine how much of the story and character development got left on the cutting room floor. Cleopatra's legacy has moved far beyond earning the label as the most expensive film ever made - due to waste and mismanagement that nearly caused the demise of Fox Studios. There are "extras" on the Blu-ray version that expose many of such myths. I invite you to see this Cleopatra - a beautiful example of what Blu-ray can do for home viewing and the potential for visually jaw-dropping moments that show the art of motion pictures. This Cleopatra is perhaps more relevant than ever today with efforts to depict (at least Hollywood-style) a well-rounded view of one of the most famous female characters in history, as portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor, an icon of her times. I purchased my Blu-ray copy of Cleopatra in February, 2012 from amazon.co.uk after finding out it would play on U.S. players. This spectacular Blu-ray version of Cleopatra will soon be available to purchase in the U.S. Highly recommended to all film buffs.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 17, 2012 6:34:58 PM PST
B. Chandler says:
Posted on Feb 19, 2013 2:22:23 PM PST
James Q. Smith says:
You can't really appreciate many of the widescreen movies of old without bluray. There is so much detail that pops up that would be a blur in any other format. I saw this too, in the EU version in BD. Fantastic pagentry.
Posted on Feb 24, 2013 12:01:19 PM PST
You mention this is the longest running time to date. The DVD I have is approximately 4 hours and 5 min, the way it was originally released before Zanuck butcherd it to 3hours and 15 min. The advertised running time of the BluRay is showing anywhere from 180 plus to 192, what gives?
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2013 2:41:45 PM PST
Napauli Paul says:
Hi Edward, apologies for any confusion. The blu-ray version of Cleopatra I own says 251 minutes running time for the film which is probably the same four hour and five minute version you are referring to. I owned the same DVD version of Cleopatra and it featured an excellent image and sound but the blu-ray version is that much better. Cleopatra fans have asked in recent years about the talked about two pictures, near six hour version that Joseph Mankiewicz originally intended which split the Caesar and Anthony stories in to separate films. There is an "extra" on this new blu-ray set that addresses the fans' requests. Basically fans are being told that a longer version cannot be found and that any other film and sound elements not used in the current version no longer exist even after an exhaustive worldwide search. I believe there is at least a collector somewhere who has a longer version even if the missing parts are just the black and white work copies. I've always felt that it would have been an even better film if it had been released with better character development (which was filmed even though the claim is there was never a finished script). At any rate the version you are referring to was the original Road Show version shown only in large cities when the film first came out. The version you refer to as what Zanuck butchered is a disgrace to Cleopatra but at the time it has been written that Zanuck had no emotional interest in the film other than saving Fox Studios.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2013 5:30:00 PM PST
The version I have is a Region 1 NTSC two-disc DVD set released in February 2006 and labelled "AWARD SERIES" / "SPECIAL EDITION". It is described as a: "Widescreen Version: presented in a letterbox widescreen format preserving the aspect ration of its original theatrical exhibition" and "WIDESCREEN Anamorphic 2.35:1". According to the DVD cover it runs for 248 minutes. (If released in the UK, it would run faster in PAL by about 4% = 238 minutes.)
I paid $13.99 for the DVD set in 2011. The same version in Blu-ray for just $13.49 looks like a bargain.
In reply to an earlier post on May 27, 2013 2:58:26 PM PDT
Alan Montgomery says:
While I would love the original length (6 hours?), I have always felt Taylor was given too many ponderous monologues.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2015 10:30:07 AM PST
Kendrik Lau says:
There was this scene where Cleo and Antony argued over his marriage to Octavia and Cleo was seen wearing three different outfits...meaning the sequence was edited from at least three different scenes...which also meant the characters seem to argue and repeat the same things over and over again...hence the bloated original 6 hour running time.
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2015 10:58:45 AM PST
The moral of the story is this and we should l let it rest in peace. All the elements came together to make this probably the most incompetent, misguided attempt at movie making since the advent of sound pictures. There are all the what ifs: If Zanuck and Mankewitz had control from the getgo on the script....... If they did not give Taylor such and absurd amount of money.........If they had started shooting in Rome instead of London......if Taylor did not almost die......If Burton and Taylor could have remained professional......If money was not squandered.......etc.etc.
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