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They don't make movies like they used to

I saw the 1963 Cleopatra (the one with Liz Taylor) on the big screen recently and I gotta say...


My experience with live action adaptations of this period of history is limited to this movie, HBO's Rome and Astérix: Mission Cléopatre, all of which are excellent in their various ways.

Cleopatra cost about 42 millions to make and every single cent is on the screen. It's, to put it simply, gorgeous. Not just because Liz Taylor is Liz Taylor or because the costumes are fabulous -- although she is and they are -- but because the cinematography of every single shot is a thing of beauty.

Liz Taylor is AMAZING as Cleopatra and hands down my favourite Cleopatra. (Monica Bellucci is a close second, Rome's a very distant third.)

She carries the entire four hours with a fantastic performance of a woman who is ambitious, a keen politician, proud, strong, kind and aware at all times of her image and how she can use it. I loved every single time she laid a verbal smackdown on Romans, which was often. She's also gorgeous and dressed in fabulous -- if with disctintive 50s/60s body shape -- costumes.

All the other actors were also really good! Rufio was my second favourite (after Cleopatra), Charmian and Eirnas broke my heart at the end, I really liked Flavius and Apollodore too.

Their Caesar was not my favourite, because that's the one from Mission Cléopatre (I don't like Caesar, so the one where he's made fun of is obviously my favourite), but he's much better than Rome's Caesar. [That's not all that hard, but this is still a damn good Caesar. ] Quite frankly Rome's Caesar doesn't even place.

I preferred Rome's Mark Antony because he was funnier, but it's honestly a very close call. This is a damn good Mark Antony. I still liked Rufio better though.

I wasn't convinced by their Octavian when the intermission rolled around (PRAISE BE TO THE INTERMISSION -- I really needed to stretch my legs) but he won me over by the end. He got the delicate balance of Augustus being both a shrewd political mind and A Weird. I think the HBO crack team of SIMON WOODS and Max Pirkis were better, but they got two whole seasons while this guy got two whole hours.

Despite knowing every beat of the story, I still got caught up in it. This is quality tragedy.

The way the movie was shot -- the kind of shots, etc -- was very interesting for how it contrasted with modern cinematography. More wide shots, less close-ups.

There was a moment when someone said the words "civil war" and I thought back on the old MCU Civil War memes -- tbh, I think I enjoyed this movie better than CACW as CACW was far too fast-paced for me to process emotionally. This movie is much slower but that gives room for the emotions to breath and be felt.

(Cleopatra also claims Hannibal had epilepsy, which was the first I'd heard of this.)

Also, this movie reminded me how much I would love to read/watch/etc an alternate history in which Cleopatra allies with Augustus, be that after Actium or instead of Mark Antony or whatever. (Cleopatra/Augustus optional, but welcome.)

Also also, for all we know Cleopatra gave birth to a daughter and Cesarion is someone else's son.

Also also also, I really like Roman armour.

IN CONCLUSION: WATCH THIS AND WATCH IT ON A BIG SCREEN IF YOU CAN. This entry was originally posted at http://dhampyresa.dreamwidth.org/169170.html and has comment count unavailable comments over there.


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