Lets talk about CLEOPATRA- 1963

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by trajan, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. trajan

    trajan Screenwriter

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    Back in the summer of 1963,while on vacation from michigan, I went with my aunt to the Pantages theater in LA. to see CLEOPATRA the day after it opened. I remember how excited I was to see this event. Yes ,I was a movie buff back then.I remember buying the program book also. Any comments on seeing it on the big screen? Looking forward to bluray release. .
     
  2. kenNew

    kenNew Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw Cleopatra at about the same time - but in a very different place: It was in Brighton on England's south coast. It's a large resort city which was often the venue for preview runs for major releases which were otherwise restricted to exclusive runs in London's West End. The cinema was almost as grand as those in the West End and, with marble pillars and gilt trimming, these picture houses seemed particularly appropriate settings for films about the grandeur of Rome, although there was nothing antique about their sound and projection systems.


    Like you, I still have the programme book from that show and, again like you, I look forward to a Blu-ray release although, personally, I have not seen any official announcement and part of me wonders if it will actually happen.
     
  3. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    I never saw Cleopatra theatrically.


    In fact I was really bummed when a friend of mine told me the other week that they had recently seen a screening of it in NYC (like, you forgot to mention this to me how?).


    I remember it being one of those legendary movies I heard about growing up, but I never got around to seeing it. I remember when the DVD came out and got terrific reviews because of its plethora of bonus features, and when the disc was about to go out of print, I bought it blindly. And then it sat on my shelf.


    A couple years later, I got a digital projector. After hanging my screen, hooking everything up, and doing those first few minutes of "let's put the craziest stuff I own on it and see how it looks," it was time to decide what the first movie to watch on my new setup would be. As I browsed through my shelf, I got up to the Cs and saw "Cleopatra" still sitting there. I stopped looking then. Cleopatra was the first film viewed on my projector.


    I can't think of a better choice. It may not have been the best film I ever saw, but the scope of it, the beauty of the costumes and cast, the grandeur of the sets and scenery, the luscious photography - it was a perfect "big screen" experience. I intended on watching only the first half, as I had to work early the next morning - I ended up watching the whole thing, I couldn't look away.


    I'd love to see this theatrically one day, and would be happy to add a stunning Blu-ray to my collection when and if they ever release it. And I have to believe it's a question of "when" as opposed to "if".
     
  4. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    It was stunning on the big screen - the color, the sets and costumes - just breathtaking. I didn't love Elizabeth Taylor in the role (thought she was kind of brittle), but the first half played beautifully as an excellent film all its own. The second half was less interesting.


    The DVD is a terrific transfer as I recall, but I can only marvel at what Blu-ray might bring to this film in terms of eye-popping splendor.
     
  5. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Missed the theatrical release and saw it first on pan-scan ABC two part movie night. I think it was Sunday and Wednesday, but could be wrong for all I know is that it was not Monday, due to Monday Night Football. I gave it a thumbs down at that time and blew off all the talk about the film as gossip only. Many years later I saw it on DVD and was blown away by the scope of the film and my opinion of it rose considerably. I an anxiously awaiting a blu-ray. PS - I am jealous of the ones that have seen this on the big screen.
     
  6. Scott Calvert

    Scott Calvert Supporting Actor

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    I would buy this in a New York minute. The DVD still looks pretty good from a distance. A properly done bluray would be amazing.
     
  7. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Y'all inspired me to order a secondhand copy of the 3-disc Five Star Collection to enjoy in the meantime.
     
  8. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    It's my favourite film, and I am desperately wanting to own a Blu-ray copy! In fact, I finally bought a player hoping that this will be out by Christmas.


    I've never seen it on the big screen, and wish I could have gone to the Lincoln Centre screening as part of the Taylor retrospective! Apparently it was filled with Taylor acolytes!


    What do you all want in terms of bonus material? I wish they'd include the cut scenes that have resurfaced as standalone features...the original first glimpse of Cleopatra in her camp looks quite good judging by what we saw of it in the 2hr documentary.
     
  9. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    First, I want all the splendid bonus material that appeared on the DVD to be ported over to the Blu-ray. Then, I'd love to have included a TV show produced by the BBC which was an imagined series of telephone conversations between Fox publicists Jack Brodsky and Nathan Weiss and was based on a book they had published soon after the movie was first released.


    F
     
  10. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    I also saw it the day afer it opened but in London at the Dominion. It was the first public performance, a matinee, and was of course sold out. The word of mouth was good and the audience and me enjoyed it greatly.

    I didn't know till many years later but it was a"special" version running about 3hrs 40 mins. Zanuck had already began playing with it and as we know by the time of the French opening a few months later, it was down to barely 3 hrs and that became the general release version.All the scenes before Alexander's tomb were gone and when I later saw stills of them I got my first inkling that films could shrink during their release!

    Can't wait for the BD. The dvd looked great for its time and is still one of my old "demo" discs but bring on the BD Fox!!!!!
     
  11. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    I haven't even heard of that documentary, although I do have a copy of the book. Sounds really interesting! Hope Fox is reading this!
     
  12. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    Make sure you get the bonus 3rd disc with it, Chas - it contains one of the best (feature-length) documentaries about the making of a movie, warts and all, that I have ever seen.
     
  13. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Over the years I have done some reading about the theatrical release of CLEOPATRA. Skouras Theatres put up $1,000,000 guarantee for the rights to open the film at the Rivoli Theatre in New York. At that time it was the largest pre-payment in theatre history and made all the newspapers with a picture of the Skouras executives handing over a big blow-up check to the Fox distribution executives. I worked for Salah Hassanein and still know him today. At the time Mr. Hassanein was one of the executives of Skouras Theatres (merged with UA Theatres in 1964) and I asked him about it one day and he said "yeah we gave them the check and six months later we sued the @?!%& lying @*%@$%^ to get half of it back." He said that Fox over sold the film to theatre executives as the next GONE WITH THE WIND. He did go on and say with a smile, we made our !$%@^*& money.
     
  14. AdrianTurner

    AdrianTurner Banned

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    I too saw it at the Dominion in Todd-AO. One of the things I remember is the advertising campaign which showed a sort of Roman-style fresco with Elizabeth Taylor draped on a bed, Rex Harrison close by and very attentive, and Richard Burton in the background, lurking behind a potted palm. The thing was, the title of the film was not shown. Just that picture covering half a page of a newspaper with the tagline - "The film the whole world is waiting to see."
     
  15. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    Adrian, in the NYC billboard they only included Taylor and Burton--until Rex Harrison threatened to sue. Caesar was promptly included after that threat.


    Here's hoping we'll see "Cleopatra" soon...and won't have to wait until the film's 50th in 2013, which also coincides with the release of the Angelina Jolie "Cleopatra". Oops, I probably shouldn't be giving them any ideas!
     
  16. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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  17. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Wow. What a poster!
     
  18. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    Absolutely stunning!!


    I'm dying to watch it again...but am really holding out for a Blu-ray so I can experience it again for the first time with pristine picture quality.
     
  19. Eric Vedowski

    Eric Vedowski Second Unit

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    Looked it up on Google News Archive - Sunday February 13, 1972, in a three hour timeslot and the second part (two hours) the following day (Monday - post football season). I saw the first part on TV but I never saw the second half until I bought the LD. I used to show Cleo's entrance into Rome to "WOW" guests to the house (on a huge projection screen) and it sure did.
     
  20. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    Ah, right in the middle of the February sweeps period. I bet ABC won both those nights.


    Yep your right about the Rome entrance on a home projection screen it is awesome.
     

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