Jump to content
Water Bottle

Cleopatra

Recommended Posts

I remember reading (or watching a documentary) that this was a famously troubled production. A 44M budget in 1963 is pretty ridiculous for sure. As far as I knew, Elizabeth Taylor was just a socialite when I was growing up, never knew how much starpower she had, maybe the investment made sense at the time.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, CoolioD1 said:

this film is legit pretty underrated today i think. maybe a bit too long but still real quality. i think it's reputation as a disastrous production has overwhelmed the film itself

More drama in Liz Taylor's life than in that 4 hour long movie anyways

 

11 minutes ago, grim22 said:

I remember reading (or watching a documentary) that this was a famously troubled production. A 44M budget in 1963 is pretty ridiculous for sure. As far as I knew, Elizabeth Taylor was just a socialite when I was growing up, never knew how much starpower she had, maybe the investment made sense at the time.

It wasn't until she passed away that I looked into how big a film star she was, and for how long...

 

First a child star at MGM, then an adolescent beauty, before becoming a fashion and social icon who was also outspoken and fairly ahead of her time.

 

Star power was yuge back then

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

because the stars were better. i don't wanna sound like i'm on some midnight in paris nostalgia for a time i never lived in trip but y'know when i watch cary grant or audrey hepburn or taylor or newman i just... get it more, y'know? the magnetism is off the charts. even the guys who were running the game in the 90s never had it like they had it.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, CoolioD1 said:

because the stars were better. i don't wanna sound like i'm on some midnight in paris nostalgia for a time i never lived in trip but y'know when i watch cary grant or audrey hepburn or taylor or newman i just... get it more, y'know? the magnetism is off the charts. even the guys who were running the game in the 90s never had it like they had it.

They were larger than life figures, in a time when there was no art form to match their reach.

 

They had class, and played roles to fit their persona.

 

They were giants.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, elcaballero said:

I like epics, but that runtime is intimidating for a movie with middling reception.

50 years later and it still seems like a "love it or hate it" film. 4 hours isn't something I can just waste

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, grim22 said:

I remember reading (or watching a documentary) that this was a famously troubled production. A 44M budget in 1963 is pretty ridiculous for sure. As far as I knew, Elizabeth Taylor was just a socialite when I was growing up, never knew how much starpower she had, maybe the investment made sense at the time.

 

Elizabeth Taylor was a huge movie star then but it didn't start out with such a high budget. The costs just kind of...mushroomed:


 

Quote

 

The eventual production costs of Cleopatra almost bankrupted 20th Century Fox. Originally budgeted at $2 million,[6] the film ended up costing $31 million, making it the most expensive film ever made at the time.[3] This was partly because the film's elaborate, complicated sets, costumes and props had to be constructed twice, first during an abandoned shoot in London and once more when the production relocated to Rome.

 

Veteran Hollywood producer Walter Wanger was hired by 20th Century Fox executives to shepherd a remake of the silent 1917-hit Cleopatra into production. Though the studio originally sought a relatively cheap production of $2 million, Wanger envisioned a much more opulent epic. After he was able to negotiate a higher budget of $7 million, screenwriter Nigel Balchin was hired to pen the script. Dale Wasserman would later rewrite Balchin's material, though neither of them ended up receiving screen credit. Filming began in London in 1960 under Rouben Mamoulian. Mankiewicz was brought into the production after Mamoulian's departure. Leon Shamroy replaced Jack Hildyard as cinematographer. Mankiewicz 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 chosen to play Julius Caesar (Peter Finch) and Mark Antony (Stephen Boyd) left owing to other commitments. Mankiewicz was later fired during the editing phase, only to be rehired when no one else could piece the film together (since Mankiewicz was hired so late in the production, he was rewriting the screenplay during principal photography; there was never a finished shooting script as such).

 

Elizabeth Taylor was awarded a record-setting contract of $1 million. This amount eventually swelled to $7 million because of the delays of the production (equivalent to $54,800,000 in 2016).[7] Taylor became very ill during the early filming and was rushed to hospital, 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 used for the British comedy Carry On Cleo.) During filming, Taylor met Richard Burton and the two began an adulterous affair, which made headlines worldwide since both were married to others. Moral outrage over the scandal brought bad publicity to an already troubled production.

 

The cut of the film which Mankiewicz screened for the studio was six hours long. This was cut to four hours for its initial premiere, but the studio demanded (over the objections of Mankiewicz) that the film be cut once more, this time to just barely over three hours to allow theaters to increase the number of showings per day. As a result, certain details are left out of the film, such as Rufio's death and the recurring theme of Cleopatra's interaction with the gods of Egypt.[8] Mankiewicz unsuccessfully attempted to convince the studio to split the film in two in order to preserve the original cut. These were to be released separately as Caesar and Cleopatra followed by Antony and Cleopatra. The studio wanted to capitalize on the publicity of the intense press coverage the Taylor-Burton romance was generating, and felt that pushing Antony and Cleopatra to a later release date was too risky. The film has been released to home video formats in its 248-minute premiere version, and efforts are under way to locate the missing footage (some of which has been recovered).

 

 

Seriously, though, after filming began:

 

  • Major roles recast
  • No finished script
  • Fired directors
  • Star nearly dies, has lengthy recovery
  • Massive sets fall apart and get rebuilt in an entirely different country
  • Married leads have affair and get condemned by the Vatican
  • Six hour original cut

 

If there had been social media and forums like this back then...

Edited by BoxOfficeChica
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, BoxOfficeChica said:

 

Elizabeth Taylor was a huge movie star then but it didn't start out with such a high budget. The costs just kind of...mushroomed:


 

 

Seriously, though:

  • Major roles recast
  • No finished script
  • Fired directors
  • Star has serious brush with death during filming
  • Ancient Rome/Egypt built and rebuilt in an entirely different country
  • Married leads have affair and get condemned by the Vatican
  • Six hour original cut

 

If there had been social media and forums like this back then...

Sounds like a "what could go wrong" for everything. 

 

Shooting overseas alone is bad enough, but all this mess..

 

Quote

The film earned Elizabeth Taylor a Guinness World Record title, "Most costume changes in a film"; Taylor made 65 costume changes.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, BoxOfficeChica said:

 

Elizabeth Taylor was a huge movie star then but it didn't start out with such a high budget. The costs just kind of...mushroomed:


 

 

Seriously, though, after filming began:

 

  • Major roles recast
  • No finished script
  • Fired directors
  • Star nearly dies, has lengthy recovery
  • Massive sets fall apart and get rebuilt in an entirely different country
  • Married leads have affair and get condemned by the Vatican
  • Six hour original cut

 

If there had been social media and forums like this back then...

 

I remember Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe had an affair on the set of.. i want to say the movie was called "Proof of life". This was pre-Social media but news of that affair tanked the movie as well as Meg Ryan's career. America for some reason just was not able to forgive her for it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Meg Ryan unfortunately was pigeon holed as America's sweetheart girl next door.  The image that built her fan base cost her.

 

Elizabeth Taylor though was already 4 times married, once widowed and had already publicly "stolen" her best friend's husband (Debbie Reynolds/Eddie Fisher) by the time the Burton affair (which she allegedly leaked to the press so his wife would leave him)  came about.  That she cheated on Fisher to some felt like what comes around goes around.  She was America's Goddess who had already played vixens and prostitutes, she survived being naughty.

 

 

Edited by TalismanRing
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, grim22 said:

 

I remember Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe had an affair on the set of.. i want to say the movie was called "Proof of life". This was pre-Social media but news of that affair tanked the movie as well as Meg Ryan's career. America for some reason just was not able to forgive her for it.

Men do have it easier but if you build your image on being a likable sweetheart, then you're stuck walking the walk if you want to hold onto that career. Also, adorable doesn't really age well, regardless of your personal life. No one cares if Cate Blanchett has an affair, some of her fans probably want her to, there are some Carol obsessives that ship her with Rooney lol.

 

1998 Vanity Fair piece on the making of Cleopatra that's as long as the movie, a majorly detailed account of all the different dramas and excesses during development and production. Crazy anecdotes about how Liz wouldn't film during her period ( ‘Look, if I’m playing the most beautiful woman in the world, I want to look my best.’ ) and had multiple incidents of "food poisoning", aka too many sedatives but not enough to be lethal, right as Burton ended their affair, also after he was indiscreet about the other affair he was having at the time, that also disrupted filming. Lots of poor planning and people realizing that it was easy to take advantage of a chaotic production: "If you wanted to buy some new dinnerware or a set of glasses for your house, it was the easiest thing to put it on the budget of Cleopatra."

Edited by BoxOfficeChica
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, BoxOfficeChica said:

Men do have it easier but if you build your image on being a likable sweetheart, then you're stuck walking the walk if you want to hold onto that career. Also, adorable doesn't really age well, regardless of your personal life. No one cares if Cate Blanchett has an affair, some of her fans probably want her to, there are some Carol obsessives that ship her with Rooney lol.

 

1998 Vanity Fair piece on the making of Cleopatra that's as long as the movie, a majorly detailed account of all the different dramas and excesses during development and production. Crazy anecdotes about how Liz wouldn't film during her period ( ‘Look, if I’m playing the most beautiful woman in the world, I want to look my best.’ ) and had multiple incidents of "food poisoning", aka too many sedatives but not enough to be lethal, right as Burton ended their affair, also after he was indiscreet about the other affair he was having at the time, that also disrupted filming. Lots of poor planning and people realizing that it was easy to take advantage of a chaotic production: "If you wanted to buy some new dinnerware or a set of glasses for your house, it was the easiest thing to put it on the budget of Cleopatra."

LOL :lol:

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cleopatra almost bankrupted Fox which was saved a few years later by The Sound of Music being a huge successful. Had they split into two movies, it would been profitable.

 

The original sets and costumes in England were reused for Carry On Cleo which is why that film looked like it cost more than it actually did. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎2‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 6:43 PM, franfar said:

50 years later and it still seems like a "love it or hate it" film. 4 hours isn't something I can just waste

The irony is that though Liz and Dick got all the publicity, Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar easily walks away with the film.

The first half is quite good, but the second half drags. One major problem is that Marc Anthony is rather poorly written.

But Cleo's entry into Rome and the Battle of Actium are worth seeing.

On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2017 at 4:55 PM, Jonwo said:

Cleopatra almost bankrupted Fox which was saved a few years later by The Sound of Music being a huge successful. Had they split into two movies, it would been profitable.

 

The original sets and costumes in England were reused for Carry On Cleo which is why that film looked like it cost more than it actually did. 

SHootiing a movie set in Egypt in England in the winter was a stupid idea to begin with.

Splittiing the  movie into two parts was considered, but rejected because that was simply unheard of at the time. In fact, it was not until the success of LOTR that releasing a multi part movie,where each part could not really stand on it's own,became  common in Hollywood.

The film ended up costing over 40 Million 1963 dollars...that would  close to 500 Million in today's money.

It almost bankrupted the studio before it was released,the huge expense created such a huge cash flow problem for Fox it nearly went under almost a year before the film was finished. The only thing that saved Fox was firing the studio head and Bringing Zanuck back  on board. Bringing Zanuck back aslo brought Zanuck's own production of "The Longest Day" as a Fox release. "Day" was a huge hit, and the cash  it brought in was a major factor in helping Fox survive until Cleo could begin bringing in the bucks. It did not pay for itself until the Television sale, but it did bring in enough to get Fox off the critical list until "Sound of Music" came along.

Edited by dudalb
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On ‎2‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 6:50 PM, BoxOfficeChica said:

 

Elizabeth Taylor was a huge movie star then but it didn't start out with such a high budget. The costs just kind of...mushroomed:


 

 

Seriously, though, after filming began:

 

  • Major roles recast
  • No finished script
  • Fired directors
  • Star nearly dies, has lengthy recovery
  • Massive sets fall apart and get rebuilt in an entirely different country
  • Married leads have affair and get condemned by the Vatican
  • Six hour original cut

 

If there had been social media and forums like this back then...

You forget two months of filming in England from which no usable footage emerged....

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Guidelines. Feel free to read our Privacy Policy as well.