Cleopatra is a 1963 film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz. The screenplay was adapted
by Sidney Buchman, Ben Hecht, Ranald MacDougall, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz from a book by Carlo Mario Franzero. The film starred Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Roddy McDowall and Martin Landau. The music score was by Alex North. It was photographed in 70 mm Todd-AO by Leon Shamroy and Jack Hildyard.
Cleopatra chronicles the struggles of Cleopatra VII, the young Queen of Egypt, to resist the imperialist ambitions of Rome.
Despite being a critical and commercial failure, it won four Academy Awards.
The film is infamous for nearly bankrupting 20th Century Fox. Originally budgeted at $2 million, it was made at a cost of $44 million — the equivalent of $307.5 million in 2009 dollars (see the list of most expensive films to produce), making the movie the third-most costly ever produced worldwide and the second most expensive in the United States after Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, which had a budget of US$300, 000, 000 (accounting for inflation in each case). This was partly due to the fact that the film's elaborate, complicated sets, costumes and props had to be constructed twice, once during a botched shoot in London and once more when the production relocated to Rome.
Filming began in London in 1960. Mankiewicz was brought into the production after the departure of the first director (Rouben Mamoulian), who had in mind African-American actress Dorothy Dandridge for the lead role. He inherited a film which was already $5 million over budget and had no usable footage to show for it. This was in part because the actors originally hired to play Julius Caesar (Peter Finch) and Marc Antony (Stephen Boyd) left due to other commitments. Mankiewicz was later fired during the editing phase, only to be rehired when no one else could piece the film together.
Elizabeth Taylor was awarded a record-setting contract of $1 million. This amount eventually swelled to $7 million due to the delays of the production, equivalent to over $47 million today. Taylor became very ill during the early filming and was rushed to an emergency room where a tracheotomy had to be performed to save her life. The resulting scar can be seen in some shots. All of this resulted in the film being shut down. The production was moved to Rome after six months as the English weather proved detrimental to her recovery, as well as being responsible for the constant deterioration of the costly sets and exotic plants required for the production (the English sets were utilised for the spoof Carry On Cleo). During filming, Taylor met Richard Burton and the two began a very public affair, which made headlines worldwide. Moral outrage over the scandal brought bad publicity to an already troubled production.
Author Toei Compay
Press Fujian Audio Press
Publication Date July, 2005
Edition First Edition
Page material gelatine plate paper
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