Rent Caesar and Cleopatra (1945)

3.3 of 5 from 56 ratings
2h 2min
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Vivien Leigh is a young and determined Cleopatra and Claude Rains is Emperor Julius Caesar. Beauty and power collide in this witty, memorably cast and brilliantly designed adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play. As Rome invades Egypt, Julius Caesar stumbles across the young princess Cleopatra sheltering in the Sphinx. Impressed by her spirit and intelligence and seduced by her charm he determines to make her Queen.
, , , , , , , , , , , , , Harda Swanhilde, , , , , ,
George Bernard Shaw
John Bryan
Classics, Comedy, Drama
A History of The Classical World In Cinema, Top 10 British Actresses of the 1940s
Release Date:
Run Time:
122 minutes
English Dolby Digital 2.0
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
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Reviews (1) of Caesar and Cleopatra

What about the eyebrows? - Caesar and Cleopatra review by RhysH

Spoiler Alert

Shaw said of Pascal that he was "doing for the films what Diaghileff (sic) did for the Russian ballet. Pascal said that Shaw had "the greatest God-given gift of expressing the truth". Such talents should surely produce a great film. There was correspondence between Pascal and Shaw about the colour of Britannus's (Cecil Parker) eyebrows!

The production was beset with problems. Four days after filming started the Germans launched their V2 rockets. Parts of the set and workshops were destroyed. There was a shortage of people to make costumes, a shortage of material for the costumes, a shortage of skilled workers to build the sets. Then there was the weather, days and days were spent waiting for a bit of sunshine.

When shooting moved to Egypt days were lost because of rain! In Egypt 1,200 troops used as soldiers for the film were given papier-mâché shields held together by fish glue. The soldiers found these most edible and new shields had to be made.

The film was made using the new technicolour cameras. The resulting colour is very brash, no subtlety of shades. Stewart Grainger looks as if he has been spray tanned. The cameras were also very heavy and there is little camera movement, acting is done directly to camera in a very staged manner. All the performances, perhaps with the exception of Claude Rains, are very mannered almost hammy.

Pascal wanted the extras in the crown scenes to have individuality. It didn't quite work out for him. The crowd runs one way waving their arms in the air for fear and walk another way shaking their fists for anger. The depiction of the black slaves is embarrassing.

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