Immersed in Blu-ray: Cleopatra

Following its Cannes premiere, Fox’s new 50th anniversary Cleopatra restoration bowed on Blu-ray this week.

Joe Mankiewicz’s infamous Cleopatra endures as the iconic Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton love story (they began their off-screen affair during the making of the troubled epic).  They were divine together as Cleopatra and Antony and the movie made Hollywood history, nearly bankrupting Twentieth Century Fox despite being the biggest box office winner of 1963. That’s because the budget soared to $44 million ($323 million when adjusted for inflation).

Co-starring Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra earned four Oscars for art direction, cinematography, costume design, and visual effects. The Blu-ray looks sumptuous and sounds great in DTS-HD  MA 5.1 and continues to fascinate even if it’s verbose and uneven at 251 minutes. It’s no All About Eve  and too old-fashioned when compared to the hipper Tom Jones, which won the best picture Oscar. Still, it ages better than other comparable epics.

The Blu-ray is packed with dazzling bonus materials featuring never-before-seen exclusive content including Cleopatra’s lost footage, commentary from Chris Mankiewicz, Tom Mankiewicz, Martin Landau and Jack Brodsky, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more. Additionally, fans can watch footage from the film’s original theatrical premieres in both New York and Los Angeles.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Blu-ray, Costume, Oscar, Production Design, Tech, Trailers

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