Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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One of the best epic films ever made. This film deserves to be remembered for all eternity, it is sad that the film industry does not make films like this.
A forgotten Hollywood epic that does its extravagance well. Rex Harrison, Roddy McDowall and Richard Burton are great. Elizabeth Taylor is Elizabeth Taylor. The story is well told and you can revel in the pre CGI glory. The best from Taylor and Burton was yet to come though with Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf leaving this in the dark.
Highly underrated. It may have cost too much to make, but it is an epic film worth seeing.
The film that effectively put an end to the sword and sandal epic, thank god, earns it's reputation as an overlong mess featuring dull performances and an overemphasis on style and appearances over plot and substance. One of the things that makes the film such a horror show is it's incredible length as at over four hours you expect an epic on the level of Gone With the Wind (1939) but sadly none of the brilliance of that film can be found here. The film is let down not only by it's sloppy, unfocused direction but by a soulless lead performance from Elizabeth Taylor, whose stardom I have never understood, as she is shrill, wooden and lacking in chemistry with the two male leads. I can't say I enjoyed the film as despite the spectacle of the production the visuals very quickly get old and you get to wondering when an interesting story will begin to play out and whether Taylor will get less insufferable.
Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor, schemes to have her lover and dictator Julius Caesar, Rex Harrison, have her brother Ptolemy, Richard O'Sullivan, removed from power in Egypt and he banishes her brother to the desert and has her become leader instead. The two are married and have a child together as they plot world domination but Caesar is assassinated when the two return to Rome and Cleopatra is angered at the fact that their son has not been recognized in his will. She also begins an affair with Mark Antony, Richard Burton, which angers the leader Octavian, Roddy McDowall, when Antony divorces his sister Octavia to be with her and leads a revolt against him by turning the people's opinion on him. After being defeated in battle by Octavian repeatedly Antony returns to Cleopatra depressed and is convinced to commit suicide. In her mourning Cleopatra is weakened and she finally commits suicide herself.
Taylor, who is on screen for the majority of the film's 4 hour run time, has a bored expression throughout the film and when she is asked to express emotion she becomes an unwatchable hurricane of mixed emotions as she does not seem to understand the lines she delivers. She lacks the extraordinary beauty to make the character believable as a manipulative minx and has none of the sly cunning of the indelible Claudette Colbert in the 1934 original. The film was clearly intended as the film that would cement her star status and in some ways it did but personally I have never found any of her performances to be worthy of merit and even as a movie star I didn't see her appeal. The other performers surrounding her struggle as the camera focuses largely on her chubby face and well-exposed bosom while leaving Harrison to play fatherly and intelligent and Burton to brood. Neither have many opportunities to create a real character and in comparison to the legendary performances of Louis Calhern and Marlon Brando in Julius Caesar (1953). The film would have benefited from featuring an actress with more beauty and a sense of humor.
The movie itself is largely directionless beyond ogling it's stars and the impressive sets constructed to give the impression of Ancient Rome and Egypt. Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, one of many who signed onto the infamous production, was capable of telling an entertaining story and drawing great performances out of respected actors, as evidenced by All About Eve (1950), however he seems to lose that ability here. The four hour running time of the film is entirely unnecessary as it would have been better to focus in on a specific period of Cleopatra's life than attempting to cover her life from meeting Caesar onwards. Epic tragedies are a difficult genre to master and the twists and turns in this story are somehow less compelling than those which Tess Durbyfield follows in Tess (1980) or Scarlett O'Hara faces in Gone With the Wind. We never feel that we get to know this woman as a person, we are always at a certain degree of remove, which means that we don't feel for her as her lovers are murdered and her empire decimated. I wanted to feel that I had gotten something out of the film when it finally, blissfully came to an end but all I could muster was relief at being able to get up and walk away from this empty spectacle.
Epic picture that would never be made today. Stunning visuals, costumes, and historical context. If you can't enjoy this film for what it is and be able to sit back and loose yourself in the visual delights and competent acting, you are just a noob.
The movie tries hard to be one of the grand, sweeping epics of old Hollywood, like Gone With The Wind or Ben Hur, but falls apart due to flimsy causality.
I kept asking myself throughout the movie "how did (blank) know (blank)?" and "why didn't (blank) happen to (blank)?" and the movie never answers these questions.
It's amazing that despite the fact the movie is titled Cleopatra, the leading character was forced into the stereotypical female role of this era. If you don't know what I mean, I mean Taylor was there simply to make Burton and Harrison look good (i.e not gay). Taylor was good in this film despite the horrible lines such as "how will I go on with out you?" Mate your the Queen of Egypt, get over yourself
Big dumb fun. The ultimate guilty pleasure, possessing Alex North's finest film score
The best epic romance movie ever made! With the best movie score ever composed!