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A few words about...™ Cleopatra (1963) - U.S. Release -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About

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#41 of 181 OFFLINE   Billy Batson

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Posted May 24 2013 - 03:10 PM

I don't think it is quite true that they are "old lovers" at the start of part two. I'd have to check, but it must be at least 20 or more minutes into part 2 before A & C become lovers.

 

The real reason part two is considered "weak" IMO is that Caesar dies at the end of part one. Even though the film is called Cleopatra, Rex Harrison dominates the first half as Caesar. If you had to choose the most fascinating people of history, Caesar would easily crack the top 5, if not the top spot. Rex Harrison perfectly inhabits the character in the film. Throughout part one, Caesar is shown as brilliant, charming and successful until his sudden assassination. No story can survive the loss of such a character. If you were reading a straightforward historical account the same thing would occur.

 

 

Yup, you're right gov'nor. I've just finished watching it, & with a few adjustments to my TV (more colour & brighter) the picture looked very good for the most part. Funny how the old memory works, I remembered part two starting on the barge, & Liz & Dick as old lovers! I have to admit it does seem slower every time I watch it, a LOT of talk. I love big 60's Roadshow movies, & ancient world epics, & can still remember seeing it at the pictures (Odeon, Hammersmith, London), but I think modern audiences will find it very slow going, more like a talky filmed play. I don't think it was a good idea having an Italian boy with a thick Italian accent playing Caesar's young son, where did he get that accent from? No one else in the film has it! And when Mark Antony uncovers the dead Ceasar's face, just prior to burning the body, well the bloke lying there didn't look much like Rex Harrison to me!


Edited by Billy Batson, May 25 2013 - 12:42 AM.


#42 of 181 OFFLINE   Ethan Riley

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Posted May 24 2013 - 07:31 PM

Yup, you're right gov'nor. I've just finished watching it, & with a few adjustments to my TV (more colour & brighter) the picture looked very good for the most part. Funny how the old memory works, I remembered part two starting on the barge, & Liz & Dick as old lovers! I have to admit it does seem slower every time I watch it, a LOT of talk. I love big 60's Roadshow movies, & ancient world epics, & can still remember seeing it at the pictures (Odeon, Hammersmith, London), but I think modern audiences will find it very slow going, more like a talky filmed play. I don't think it was a good idea having an Italian boy with a thick Itailian accent playing Caesar's young son, where did he get that accent from? No one else in the film has it! And when Mark Antony uncovers the dead Ceasar's face, just prior to burning the body, well the bloke lying there didn't look much like Rex Harrison to me!

 

"I parrrdo you!"


 

 


#43 of 181 OFFLINE   Moe Dickstein

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Posted May 24 2013 - 07:34 PM

"I parrrdo you!"

Very few people know that Cesarion was actually played by a young Don Pardo!
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#44 of 181 OFFLINE   Malcolm Bmoor

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Posted May 25 2013 - 01:06 AM

As  there are two Cleopatra threads I'm posting this question in both.

 

Is anyone in a position to report whether the UK & US versions are technically different?

 

Many thanks.


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#45 of 181 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted May 25 2013 - 01:26 AM

As  there are two Cleopatra threads I'm posting this question in both.

 

Is anyone in a position to report whether the UK & US versions are technically different?

 

Many thanks.

I don't know what you mean by technically different, but did you read RAH's first post in this thread which is his review of this disc in comparison to the UK release?



#46 of 181 OFFLINE   Malcolm Bmoor

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Posted May 25 2013 - 02:25 AM

Thank you for the reply. Referring to the changed position of the interval music RAH wrote:

 

'Aside from that this magnificent epic with 65mm cinematography by Leon Shamroy and classic score by Alex North, seems to be precisely the same as the UK version'

 

But other people seem to have implied that the colour balance has been warmed up. I have the UK Blu-ray but haven't seen much of it as yet because it doesn't seem so long ago that I saw the previous 2 DVD UK release.


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#47 of 181 OFFLINE   Billy Batson

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Posted May 25 2013 - 08:44 AM

Thank you for the reply. Referring to the changed position of the interval music RAH wrote:

 

'Aside from that this magnificent epic with 65mm cinematography by Leon Shamroy and classic score by Alex North, seems to be precisely the same as the UK version'

 

But other people seem to have implied that the colour balance has been warmed up. I have the UK Blu-ray but haven't seen much of it as yet because it doesn't seem so long ago that I saw the previous 2 DVD UK release.

 

Reading all the reviews it looks like they're the same except for the entr'act music (which never bothered me), & I think the US release has a better cover.



#48 of 181 OFFLINE   Johnny Angell

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Posted May 25 2013 - 07:12 PM

Very few people know that Cesarion was actually played by a young Don Pardo!

:)
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#49 of 181 OFFLINE   Lromero1396

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Posted May 27 2013 - 01:20 PM

Nice! I've only seen the Magnetic video version so I guess I've never really seen the movie at all! I look forward to the bluray arriving!

Despite the fact that I've never seen the cut version presented on the Magnetic video version, I'm sure that you'll think you're watching a whole new film! Heck, that's how I feel whenever I see a widescreen film in its OAR if I've only seen it P&S'd before.

 

Edit: This is for anyone with the disc: can somebody confirm whether or not the directional dialogue has been retained on the DTS HD 5.1 track? This site's review said that it had been placed in the center channel.


Edited by Lromero1396, May 27 2013 - 01:26 PM.


#50 of 181 OFFLINE   Moe Dickstein

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Posted May 27 2013 - 01:25 PM

Yeah I kind of don't ever want to even see the short short cut, the 4 hour version is hacked down enough already.My first version of this was the big grey box CBS/Fox Laser, thankfully in widescreen
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#51 of 181 ONLINE   ahollis

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Posted May 27 2013 - 02:02 PM

My first version of this was the big grey box CBS/Fox Laser, thankfully in widescreen

I loved that big grey box. Still have it for nostalgia reasons. That was the first time I saw the uncut version.
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#52 of 181 OFFLINE   Virgoan

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Posted May 28 2013 - 08:07 AM

The missing 2 hours really would have made a tremendous difference. Don't take my word for it see for yourself: http://www.taylortri...ra page 01.html This website was made by someone with a copy of the complete script and stills from the missing scenes. It explains everything that was taken out and you can see how even the 4 hour version is pretty well truncated in many places in terms of logic. The main thing to keep in mind was that it wasn't to be a six hour film, it was meant to be 2 three hour films, and it would have worked like gangbusters.

 

 

Actually, it was "intended" to be ONE movie.  It was Mamkiewicz, alone, who kept writing and shooting, writing and shooting with the "idea" that he could sell it as two films.  It was NEVER the studio's intention to release two separate films and Makiewicz was NEVER hired to direct two separate films.


Edited by Virgoan, May 28 2013 - 08:10 AM.


#53 of 181 OFFLINE   Virgoan

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Posted May 28 2013 - 08:09 AM

I loved that big grey box. Still have it for nostalgia reasons. That was the first time I saw the uncut version.

I have that big grey box.  And it was not the uncut version.  The first time the truly "roadshow" version appeared on home video was on DVD.  Like the VHS version before it, Fox "claimed" it was the uncut version.  The telling scene is at the tomb of Alexander the Great.  NOT on the VHS version and not on the LD version.



#54 of 181 OFFLINE   Moe Dickstein

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Posted May 28 2013 - 08:28 AM

Actually, it was "intended" to be ONE movie.  It was Mamkiewicz, alone, who kept writing and shooting, writing and shooting with the "idea" that he could sell it as two films.  It was NEVER the studio's intention to release two separate films and Makiewicz was NEVER hired to direct two separate films.

Not saying thats not true, but it certainly was a damn good idea.What is the difference between the LD and DVD cuts?
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#55 of 181 OFFLINE   Rob_Ray

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Posted May 28 2013 - 08:48 AM

Not saying thats not true, but it certainly was a damn good idea.What is the difference between the LD and DVD cuts?

It would have been a good idea to release it as two films.  Trouble was, all the Liz and Dick passion would have been in the second film, and Zanuck was afraid that the whole Liz/Dick affair would be yesterday's news before the second film hit theatres.  Even though the first half of the film is by far the better half, it's the second half that sold the tickets and needed to be in theatres right away.

 

Who knew in the summer of '63 that they would actually marry and become the Lunt and Fontanne of the sixties and fodder for the National Enquirer for the next twenty?


Edited by Rob_Ray, May 28 2013 - 08:49 AM.


#56 of 181 OFFLINE   David_B_K

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Posted May 28 2013 - 09:26 AM

Actually, it was "intended" to be ONE movie.  It was Mamkiewicz, alone, who kept writing and shooting, writing and shooting with the "idea" that he could sell it as two films.  It was NEVER the studio's intention to release two separate films and Makiewicz was NEVER hired to direct two separate films.

 

It would have been a good idea to release it as two films.  Trouble was, all the Liz and Dick passion would have been in the second film, and Zanuck was afraid that the whole Liz/Dick affair would be yesterday's news before the second film hit theatres.  Even though the first half of the film is by far the better half, it's the second half that sold the tickets and needed to be in theatres right away.

 

Who knew in the summer of '63 that they would actually marry and become the Lunt and Fontanne of the sixties and fodder for the National Enquirer for the next twenty?

 

That's more or less what I have always read. After Manciewicz produced a final cut of around 6 hours, supposedly he and Taylor "pleaded" to have it released as two halves, but the studio said no.

 

BTW, I read through that treatment of what the "uncut" version would have been like. I honestly did not see two hours worth of necessary material there. Sure, there was more depth to some of the supporting characters; but little of the material looked indespensible to me. I think at some point, Manciewicz sort of "fell in love" with the characters and sought to flesh them out more than was practicable for a motion picture; which brought him to a point where he could not bring himself to cut anything else.  In many cases I like how the 4-hour version simplified some plot elements. For example, the scene in which Sosigones forwarns that Caesar's epilepsy would help lead him down the path to ultimate power. Same for the scene where Sosigones shows Caesar an early telescope and an early zoetrope. It was cute, but hardly worth tacking on yet more time to a movie that was 4 hours to start with. I think an extra 10 minutes or so of little trims could have been restored to clarify a few things.

 

Sure, some actors best scenes may have been left on the cutting room floor, and I can see how they would be disappointed. With the script being written as the film was shot, that kind of thing was bound to happen. It still happens. Entire subplots and characters still go by the wayside when a runnig time becomes too unwieldy.



#57 of 181 OFFLINE   Moe Dickstein

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Posted May 28 2013 - 11:38 AM

Which is why it should have been two films.
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#58 of 181 ONLINE   benbess

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Posted May 28 2013 - 12:01 PM

That's more or less what I have always read. After Manciewicz produced a final cut of around 6 hours, supposedly he and Taylor "pleaded" to have it released as two halves, but the studio said no.

 

BTW, I read through that treatment of what the "uncut" version would have been like. I honestly did not see two hours worth of necessary material there. Sure, there was more depth to some of the supporting characters; but little of the material looked indespensible to me. I think at some point, Manciewicz sort of "fell in love" with the characters and sought to flesh them out more than was practicable for a motion picture; which brought him to a point where he could not bring himself to cut anything else.  In many cases I like how the 4-hour version simplified some plot elements. For example, the scene in which Sosigones forwarns that Caesar's epilepsy would help lead him down the path to ultimate power. Same for the scene where Sosigones shows Caesar an early telescope and an early zoetrope. It was cute, but hardly worth tacking on yet more time to a movie that was 4 hours to start with. I think an extra 10 minutes or so of little trims could have been restored to clarify a few things.

 

Sure, some actors best scenes may have been left on the cutting room floor, and I can see how they would be disappointed. With the script being written as the film was shot, that kind of thing was bound to happen. It still happens. Entire subplots and characters still go by the wayside when a runnig time becomes too unwieldy.

 

By any chance do you have a link to the full screenplay?



#59 of 181 OFFLINE   David_B_K

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Posted May 28 2013 - 01:10 PM

By any chance do you have a link to the full screenplay?

 

No, but earlier in the thread, someone linked to THIS. It's not an actual screenplay, with notions for camera angles, etc, but contains the script of the cut scenes interpolated with the existing film continuity. It also includes stills of some of the missing scenes, proving they were shot.



#60 of 181 OFFLINE   Lromero1396

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Posted May 29 2013 - 11:45 AM

Which is why it should have been two films.

It's too bad Fox decided only to capitalize on Burton and Taylor's affair by releasing it as one film. Wouldn't the studio have been able to generate more income had they released it as two films?

 

Also, my question regarding the presence of directional dialogue on the BD has still not been answered. Is it there? Or is it gone?


Edited by Lromero1396, May 29 2013 - 11:46 AM.






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