Caesar and Cleopatra (film)

Last updated

Caesar and Cleopatra
Caesar and Cleopatra - 1945 - poster.png
theatrical release poster
Directed by Gabriel Pascal
Produced byGabriel Pascal
Written by George Bernard Shaw
(play {uncredited}, scenario and dialogue)
Starring Vivien Leigh
Claude Rains
Music by Georges Auric
Cinematography F. A. Young F.R.P.S.
Robert Krasker
Jack Hildyard
Jack Cardiff
Edited by Frederick Wilson
Joan Warwick (uncredited)
Production
company
Distributed by Eagle-Lion Films (UK)
United Artists (US)
Release date
11 December 1945 (London)
6 September 1946 (US)
16 September 1946 (UK)
Running time
128 minutes (UK)
123 minutes (US)
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget$5.2 million [1] or £1.3 million [2] [3]
Box office$2,250,000 (US rentals) [4]
815,007 admissions (France) [5]
$1.4 million (UK) [3]

Caesar and Cleopatra is a 1945 British Technicolor film directed by Gabriel Pascal and starring Vivien Leigh and Claude Rains. [6] Some scenes were directed by Brian Desmond Hurst who took no formal credit. The picture was adapted from the play Caesar and Cleopatra (1901) by George Bernard Shaw, produced by Independent Producers and Pascal Film Productions, and distributed by Eagle-Lion Distributors.

Contents

Caesar and Cleopatra was a moderate success at the box-office, but failed to earn back its then colossal budget. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Art Direction for John Bryan. [7]

Plot

In this philosophical coming-of-age film, an aging Julius Caesar takes possession of the Egyptian capital city of Alexandria, and tries to resolve a feud between young Princess Cleopatra and her younger brother Ptolemy. During the resulting sometimes-murderous court intrigues, Caesar develops a special relationship with Cleopatra, and teaches her how to use her royal power.

Cast

Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra Vivien Leigh - Cleopatra.jpg
Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra

Production

Filmed in Technicolor with lavish sets, the production was reported to be the most expensive film ever made in Britain at the time, costing £1,278,000. [8]

Pascal ordered sand from Egypt to get the right cinematic colour. The production also ran into delays due to being filmed during World War II. [9] During the shoot, Vivien Leigh tripped and miscarried her pregnancy from husband Laurence Olivier. That incident triggered Leigh's manic depression, leading to her emotional breakdown, and halted production for five weeks. [1]

The film was described as a "box office stinker" at the time and almost ended Pascal's career. It was the first Shaw film made in colour, and the last film version of a Shaw play during his lifetime. After Shaw's death in 1950, Pascal produced Androcles and the Lion , another Shaw-derived film, in 1952.

Reception

Box Office

According to trade papers, the film was a "notable box office attraction" at British cinemas. [10] [11] According to Kinematograph Weekly the 'biggest winner' at the box office in 1946 Britain was The Wicked Lady, with "runners up" being The Bells of St Marys, Piccadilly Incident, The Road to Utopia, Tomorrow is Forever, Brief Encounter, Wonder Man, Anchors Away, Kitty, The Captive Heart, The Corn is Green, Spanish Main, Leave Her to Heaven, Gilda, Caravan, Mildred Pierce, Blue Dahlia, Years Between, O.S.S., Spellbound, Courage of Lassie, My Reputation, London Town, Caesar and Cleopatra, Meet the Navy, Men of Two Worlds, Theirs is the Glory, The Overlanders, and Bedelia. [12]

The film earned $1,363,371 in the United States, making it one of the more popular British films ever released there. [13] It did, however, fall short of initial expectations. Variety estimated that Rank lost $3 million on the film. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

Vivien Leigh British actress

Vivien Leigh was a British stage and film actress. She won two Academy Awards for Best Actress, for her definitive performances as Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939) and Blanche DuBois in the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), a role she had also played on stage in London's West End in 1949. She also won a Tony Award for her work in the Broadway musical version of Tovarich (1963).

Rex Harrison English film and stage actor

Sir Reginald Carey Harrison, known as Rex Harrison, was an English actor of stage and screen. Harrison began his career on the stage in 1924. He made his West End debut in 1936 appearing in the Terence Rattigan play French Without Tears, in what was his breakthrough role. He won his first Tony Award for his performance as Henry VIII in the play Anne of the Thousand Days in 1949. He won his second Tony for the role of Professor Henry Higgins in the stage production of My Fair Lady in 1957.

Jean Simmons British actress

Jean Merilyn Simmons, OBE was a British actress and singer. One of J. Arthur Rank's "well-spoken young starlets", she appeared predominantly in films, beginning with those made in Great Britain during and after World War II, followed mainly by Hollywood films from 1950 onwards.

Stewart Granger British actor

Stewart Granger was a British film actor, mainly associated with heroic and romantic leading roles. He was a popular leading man from the 1940s to the early 1960s, rising to fame through his appearances in the Gainsborough melodramas.

<i>Samson and Delilah</i> (1949 film) 1950 film by Cecil B. DeMille

Samson and Delilah is a 1949 American romantic biblical drama film produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille and released by Paramount Pictures. It depicts the biblical story of Samson, a strongman whose secret lies in his uncut hair, and his love for Delilah, the woman who seduces him, discovers his secret, and then betrays him to the Philistines. It stars Hedy Lamarr and Victor Mature in the title roles, George Sanders as the Saran, Angela Lansbury as Semadar, and Henry Wilcoxon as Ahtur.

<i>Carry On Cleo</i> 1964 film

Carry On Cleo is a 1964 British comedy film, the tenth in the series of 31 Carry On films (1958–1992). Regulars Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Kenneth Connor, Charles Hawtrey, and Jim Dale are present and Connor made his last appearance until his return in Carry On Up the Jungle six years later. Joan Sims returned to the series for the first time since Carry On Regardless three years earlier. Sims would now appear in every Carry On up to Carry On Emmannuelle in 1978, making her the most prolific actress in the series. Jon Pertwee makes the first of his four appearances in the series. The title role is played by Amanda Barrie in her second and last Carry On. Along with Carry On Sergeant and Carry On Screaming!, its original posters were reproduced by the Royal Mail on stamps to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Carry On series in June 2008.

<i>London Town</i> (1946 film)

London Town is a 1946 Technicolor musical film, generally regarded as one of the biggest flops in the history of British cinema.

Pothinus or Potheinos, a eunuch, was regent for Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII Theos Philopator of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. He is most remembered for turning Ptolemy against his sister and co-ruler Cleopatra, thus starting a civil war, and for having Pompey decapitated and presenting the severed head to Julius Caesar.

<i>Perfect Strangers</i> (1945 film)

Perfect Strangers, is a 1945 drama film made by London Films. It stars Robert Donat and Deborah Kerr as a married couple whose relationship is shaken by their service in the Second World War. The supporting cast includes Glynis Johns, Ann Todd and Roland Culver. It was produced and directed by Alexander Korda from a screenplay by Clemence Dane and Anthony Pelissier based on a story by Clemence Dane. Dane won the Academy Award for Best Story. The music score was by Clifton Parker and the cinematography by Georges Périnal.

Gabriel Pascal Film producer

Gabriel Pascal was a Hungarian-born film producer and director whose best-known films were made in the United Kingdom.

<i>Cleopatra</i> (1963 film) 1963 historical drama film by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Cleopatra is a 1963 American epic historical drama film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, with a screenplay adapted by Mankiewicz, Ranald MacDougall and Sidney Buchman from the 1957 book The Life and Times of Cleopatra by Carlo Maria Franzero, and from histories by Plutarch, Suetonius, and Appian. It stars Elizabeth Taylor in the eponymous role. Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Roddy McDowall, and Martin Landau are featured in supporting roles. It chronicles the struggles of Cleopatra, the young Queen of Egypt, to resist the imperial ambitions of Rome.

<i>Cleopatra</i> (1934 film) 1934 film by Cecil B. DeMille

Cleopatra is a 1934 American epic film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and distributed by Paramount Pictures. A retelling of the story of Cleopatra VII of Egypt, the screenplay was written by Waldemar Young and Vincent Lawrence and was based on Bartlett Cormack's adaptation of historical material. Claudette Colbert stars as Cleopatra, Warren William as Julius Caesar, and Henry Wilcoxon as Mark Antony.

<i>Caesar and Cleopatra</i> (play) Play by George Bernard Shaw

Caesar and Cleopatra is a play written in 1898 by George Bernard Shaw that depicts a fictionalized account of the relationship between Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. It was first published with Captain Brassbound's Conversion and The Devil's Disciple in Shaw's 1901 collection Three Plays for Puritans. It was first performed in a single staged reading at Newcastle upon Tyne on 15 March 1899, to secure the copyright. The play was produced in New York in 1906 and in London at the Savoy Theatre in 1907.

<i>The Deep Blue Sea</i> (1955 film)

The Deep Blue Sea is a 1955 British drama film directed by Anatole Litvak, starring Vivien Leigh and Kenneth More, and produced by London Films and released by Twentieth Century Fox. The picture was based on the 1952 play of the same name by Terence Rattigan. The movie tells the story of a woman unhappy in her passionless marriage leaving her husband for a younger and more ardent lover.

<i>Piccadilly Incident</i>

Piccadilly Incident is a 1946 British drama film directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, Coral Browne, Edward Rigby and Leslie Dwyer. Wilcox teamed his wife Anna Neagle with Michael Wilding for the first time, establishing them as top box-office stars in five more films, ending with The Lady with a Lamp in 1951. Wilding was third choice for leading man after Rex Harrison and John Mills.

<i>Men of Two Worlds</i>

Men of Two Worlds is a 1946 British Technicolor drama film directed by Thorold Dickinson and starring Robert Adams, Eric Portman and Phyllis Calvert. The screenplay concerns an African music student who returns home to battle a witch doctor for control over his tribe.

<i>Bedelia</i> (film)

Bedelia is a 1946 British drama film directed by Lance Comfort and starring Margaret Lockwood, Ian Hunter and Barry K. Barnes. It is an adaptation of the 1945 novel Bedelia by Vera Caspary with events moved from the United States to England and Monaco.

Her First Roman is a musical with music, lyrics, and book by Ervin Drake, based on the 1898 George Bernard Shaw play Caesar and Cleopatra.

References

Notes

  1. 1 2 Steinberg, Jay S. "Caesar and Cleopatra" (article) TCM.com
  2. "The London Letter: Loan Vote Prospects" The Scotsman [Edinburgh, Scotland] 13 Dec 1945: 4.
  3. 1 2 3 Staff (30 October 1946) "'Cleo' $3,000,000 in the red", Variety (magazine)|Variety, p.3
  4. Staff (8 January 1947) "60 Top Grossers of 1946" Variety (maagazine)|Variety p,8
  5. Box office information for Stewart Granger films in France at Box Office Story
  6. "Caesar and Cleopatra (1945)". Archived from the original on 16 January 2009. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  7. "946 (19th) Art Direction (Color) Caesar and Cleopatra John Bryan" [ permanent dead link ]
  8. "Noteworthy Films Made In U.K." The West Australian . Perth: National Library of Australia. 17 January 1953. p. 27. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  9. "Caesar and Cleopatra" (1945) home video review, TCM.com
  10. Murphy, Robert (2003) Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48 p.209
  11. Thumim, Janet. "The popular cash and culture in the postwar British cinema industry". Screen. Vol. 32 no. 3. p. 258.
  12. Lant, Antonia (1991). Blackout : reinventing women for wartime British cinema. Princeton University Press. p. 232.
  13. Street, Sarah (2002) Transatlantic Crossings: British Feature Films in the USA, Continuum, p.94

Bibliography