Film review: Cleopatra (PG)

 

Joseph L Mankiewicz's 1963 folie de grandeur was a legend even before its own lifetime. No movie in history had been heralded with such pre-release clamour – and no movie could survive it.

This digitally remastered version lends a handsome burnish and blaze to the colour, but that's on the level of refurbishing Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Why enhance a fake?

The movie is not about the tragic romance of Antony and Cleopatra; it's about the prizefight-cum-love match between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, standing ego to ego in their absurd finery.

Forget Actium; this is Hollywood's battle royal. And, like certain terrible movies down the ages, it's impossible to tear your eyes away.

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