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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Caesar And Cleopatra (1945)

Gabriel Pascal’s film of the George Bernard Shaw play (which has a screenplay by Shaw) was the most expensive British film ever made at the time. But as a spectacle or an epic, it’s pretty much a wash out. It’s a very chatty movie which normally would be a nuisance but Shaw’s dialogue is more often witty than not and when you have actors the caliber of Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh in the leading roles, it makes the static go down easier. Handsomely filmed in three strip Technicolor by Freddie Young, the solid supporting cast includes Stewart Granger, Francis L. Sullivan, Basil Sydney, Cecil Parker, Jean Simmons and Flora Robson stealing scenes as the slave with the tongue twisting name of Ftatateeta. The 13 year old boy playing Cleopatra’s brother Ptolemy is Anthony Harvey who would later direct such films as THE LION IN WINTER.

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