|Table of contents|
2 1934 Film
3 1963 Film
4 1999 Film
5 Olivia's Line
The 1934 film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and won for cinematography (Victor Milner). It was written by Bartlett Cormack, Vincent Lawrence, and Valdemar Young and was directed by Cecil B. DeMille. It starred Claudette Colbert as Cleopatra, Warren William as Julius Caesar, Henry Wilcoxon as Marc Antony, Joseph Schildkraut as King Herod, and Ian Keith as Octavian.
Hollywood legend says that Claudette Colbert was completely nude during a scene where she bathed in a tub of milk.
The 1963 film was also nominated for Best Picture and won for cinematography, art direction, costumes, sets, and special effects. It was written by Sidney Buchman, Ben Hecht, Ranald MacDougall, and Joseph L. Mankiewicz from a book by Carlo Mario Franzero and was directed by Mankiewicz. It starred Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, Richard Burton as Marc Antony, and Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar (nominated for Academy Award for Best Actor).
The 1963 film is infamous for bankrupting 20th Century Fox. It was made at a cost of $40 million -- an impossibly extravagant figure for that time. It was not a box-office flop, but it did not perform nearly as well as Fox hoped, and the financial loss from the film forced the studio to file for bankruptcy. Supposedly, the film is still listed as a negative cost for Fox today, which means that, technically, the movie still has not made back its initial investment. The suit of golden armor worn in the movie by Elizabeth Taylor was made from real gold, at a cost of about $1 million. It was so heavy that she could only wear it for short periods of time.
The 1999 Cleopatra: starred Leonor Varela (Cleopatra), Timothy Dalton (Caesar), and Billy Zane (Antony). Based on the book Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George and more faithful to history than the earlier versions, it was shown first on television and then released on videotape.
On May 12, 2003, tied in with the 40th anniversary of the 1963 film, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a 45-minute romantic comedy, written by David Varela (no relation to Leonor) called Olivia's Line. The play is set during the location shoot in Rome. Incidental music is taken from the 1963 film's score. For more information about the play, and information on how you can listen to it online visit: http://www.davidvarela.com/ftvr_olivia.html