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Richard Burton, Rex Harrison and Elizabeth Taylor star in one of the greatest screen spectacles ever made - the story of the Queen of the Nile and her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. The film is distinguished by superb performances from Burton and Harrison nominated for an Oscar, but at its center is Elizabeth Taylor in one of the most glamorous roles of her career. Astounding in scope and grandeur, the picture won Oscars for cinematography, sets and special effects. It's famous moments include moviedom's most flamboyant entrance - Cleopatra's dazzling arrival in Rome. Bolstered by a talented supporting cast and utterly stunning backdrops, here is a truly epic portrayal of the woman who conquered two of Rome's greatest soldiers, affected the course of history, and became synonymous with beguiling beauty - Cleopatra.
This 1963 extravaganza, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, is certainly an epic historical drama with all the elements: elaborate sets, intricate costuming, name actors, a factual basis, and an overlong script just over four hours. But the acting is well performed and the backdrops are lush, making this a film worth seeing. Elizabeth Taylor is Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen who seduces Julius Caesar Rex Harrison in a political move to hold onto her empire. When Caesar is killed in the Roman Senate, Cleopatra looks to Marc Antony Richard Burton for his support, practically enslaving him with her wiles. Taylor is dramatic in her role, at times overly serious, but stunning nonetheless as the woman described as "well versed in the natural sciences and mathematics. She speaks seven languages proficiently. Were she not a woman one would consider her to be an intellectual." While the film does seem to drag at moments, it deserves the four Oscars it won for cinematography, art direction-set direction, costumes, and special effects. Don't confuse this Cleopatra with the 1934 version directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Claudette Colbert. --Jenny Brown