Cleopatra remains an epic classic today in every fashion both in front of and, oft because of, behind the camera. Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison are magnificent in their respective roles and the spectacle that are the production and costume designs are incredible.
Genre(s): Drama, Romance, History
Fox | NR – 251 min. – $24.99 | May 28, 2013
Directed by: Joseph L. Mankeiwicz
Writer(s): Joseph L. Mankeiwicz, Ranald MacDougall and Sidney Buchman (screenplay)
Cast: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Pamela Brown, George Cole, Hume Cronyn, Cesare Danova, Kenneth Haigh, Andrew Keir, Martin Landau, Roddy McDowall
Theatrical Release Date: June 12, 1963
Features: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 4.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (DTS 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.20
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 46.6 GB (per disc)
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
Plot Outline: Epic saga of the legendary Queen’s (ELIZABETH TAYLOR) reign from the time Julius Caesar (REX HARRISON) arrived in Egypt until her death some 18 years later. Cleopatra is portrayed as a schemer, firstly to gain control over the Egyptian kingdom from her brother with whom she ruled jointly. Having gained the confidence of Caesar, they become lovers and she bears him the son he never had. Her attempts at ensuring that they boy takes his rightful place in Rome are thwarted when Caesar is assassinated and she flees back to Egypt. Many years later Marc Antony (RICHARD BURTON), now responsible for the eastern half of the Roman Empire, seeks and alliance with Egypt. He and Cleopatra become lovers and form a military alliance but are forced to retreat after losing a major naval encounter at Actium. Both eventually take their own lives.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.5/5
This release comes with a glossy slip cover.
Audio Commentary – The track, spliced together from various sources, includes Chris Mankiewicz, Tom Mankiewicz (director Joseph Mankiewicz’s sons), actor Martin Landau and publicist Jack Brodsky.
Cleopatra Through the Ages: A Cultural History (7:51; HD) – This short featurette merely goes through the history of Cleopatra via comments by an expert in the field. It’s nothing amazing and too short to get very much out of the subject.
Cleopatra’s Missing Footage (8:12; HD) is another featurette where film historians discuss the various footage shot and attempting to find the elements from the first cut which have been lost forever.
Fox Movie Channel Presents Fox Legacy with Tom Rothman (29:29; SD) looks back at the historical significance of Cleopatra and its runaway production costs and the box office bust.
The Cleopatra Papers: A Private Correspondence are detailed letters between and telegrams between Jack Brodsky and Nathan Weiss, publicists for Fox
Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood (1:59:07; SD) is a lengthy 2001 documentary, narrated by Robert Culp, showcasing the troubled production of the film and its influence on the industry.
The Fourth Star of Cleopatra (9:06; SD) is a production behind-the-scenes featurette filmed back in the 1960s.
Fox Movietone News (6:19; SD) are archival footage from the NY and Hollywood premieres.
Theatrical Trailers (10:03; SD) – three trailers have also been included.
VIDEO – 4.75/5
Stunning. Absolutely stunning. Fox releases Cleopatra onto Blu-ray presented in its original 2.20 widescreen aspect ratio and for the first time in glorious 1080p high-definition. This transfer looks great showing off impressive detail levels, stark dark levels even during the nighttime scenes and seemingly near perfect coloring which looks bright and clear. The entire video transfer looks amazing and is the best this film will ever look.
AUDIO – 4.25/5
The disc includes a satisfactory, and sometimes remarkable, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Dialogue levels are crisp and clear as I was able to understand every word while the other elements such as ambient noises make good use of the rear channels most of the time. Any action bits do come across a tad flat but that’s to be expected and even so, sounds quite good.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, Cleopatra remains an epic classic today in every fashion both in front of and, oft because of, behind the camera. Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison are magnificent in their respective roles and the spectacle that are the production and costume designs are incredible. The Blu-ray offered here has a good number of features but the stars are the video and audio transfer which are both great.