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BBC4 21:00 Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood


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Old 23-07-2013, 21:05
Prince Monalulu
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Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood

One for the movie buffs, looks and sounds like an old American doc.

Feature-length documentary recounting the making of Cleopatra, which starred Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.
The 20th Century Fox's 1963 epic film has been called the most expensive film of all time, the biggest ever flop and the film that nearly bankrupted a Hollywood studio, while the scandal of the on-set romance between its two stars caused a media storm. Featuring rare footage, the film's original uncut trailer and interviews with those involved.
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Old 23-07-2013, 21:07
woot_whoo
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Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood

One for the movie buffs, looks and sounds like an old American doc.

Feature-length documentary recounting the making of Cleopatra, which starred Liz Taylor and Richard Burton.
The 20th Century Fox's 1963 epic film has been called the most expensive film of all time, the biggest ever flop and the film that nearly bankrupted a Hollywood studio, while the scandal of the on-set romance between its two stars caused a media storm. Featuring rare footage, the film's original uncut trailer and interviews with those involved.
I'm watching, and interested - but I'm sure this show has been on several times before. Can't recall which channel, though. The title is very familiar.
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Old 23-07-2013, 21:31
Prince Monalulu
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I'm watching, and interested - but I'm sure this show has been on several times before. Can't recall which channel, though. The title is very familiar.
Robert Culp?? doing the voiceover, various faces from 1995, I bet it's been around the houses before it ended up here.
It's interesting though, fair few names to wiki later

I wonder if they've done a doc on Heavens Gate, that killed as studio IIRC.
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Old 23-07-2013, 21:42
MikeySaint859
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Enjoying this. In fact, I've paused what I was watching on the PC for two hours just to watch it. Considering Elizabeth Taylor's health, it's amazing she made it to almost eighty.
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Old 23-07-2013, 22:05
cornishpasty1
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This is the documentary that's included on the dvd and Bluray of the film
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Old 23-07-2013, 22:37
woot_whoo
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Very interesting documentary. Far more interesting than the actual movie, which I've never been able to get all the way through - a turgid, pretentiously written and surprisingly badly acted mess. I do wonder if it would have been much better in its intended form (two pictures). I understand Elizabeth Taylor threw up after seeing the film in the form we know it.
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Old 23-07-2013, 22:51
Flukie
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It's from 2001.



Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood (2001)

Hosted by Robert Culp, this two-hour program combines film clips, behind the scenes footage, and recent interviews to create a look at the troubled 1958-1963 production. The interviews include a few surviving (at the time) actors such as Hume Cronyn and Martin Landau, plus 1995 bits from Roddy McDowall
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Old 24-07-2013, 01:15
Prince Monalulu
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That was a cracking story 'what else can go wrong'
I've never attempted to sit through the actual film, wouldn't bother not my sort of thing.
I'd could sit through the various test shots and rehearsals for ages.

I've always wondered how the hell studios manage to lose cans raw, unedited footage, how footage is found again years later is a little more understandable.
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Old 24-07-2013, 07:09
Andy2
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Although the film itself is not my cup of tea, I've always been fascinated by the story of how it was made. This doc was very informative re the producers and directors etc, and of course the terrible waste of money. A good two hours of telly.
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Old 24-07-2013, 07:15
Sad_BB_Addict
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Saw this thread and decided to watch. Not on catch-up or I-player, but repeated Fri 12.35am.
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Old 24-07-2013, 08:10
MikeySaint859
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Would a documentary like that be made today? Two hours allowed for depth of detail, but I must admit that my attention waned after the first hour. This isn't being critical of the programme, though I do believe most of what was gripping happened in the first sixty minutes. Rather, with so many distractions these days, two hours has become quite a big commitment. Would the producers, in 2013, trust the audience not to switch over to something else more instantly gratifying?
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Old 24-07-2013, 11:25
SallyArmy
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A very interesting documentary - I always love behind the scenes stories. No mention of Carry On Cleo!
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Old 24-07-2013, 11:33
woot_whoo
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A very interesting documentary - I always love behind the scenes stories. No mention of Carry On Cleo!
I recall reading that Carry On Cleo used leftover sets from the Burton/Taylor picture. This documentary showed that the sets were transported from Pinewood to Rome in the early stages of the messy, drawn out production, though. Were some left at Pinewood for the Carry On team to eventually make use of?
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Old 24-07-2013, 11:53
SallyArmy
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I recall reading that Carry On Cleo used leftover sets from the Burton/Taylor picture. This documentary showed that the sets were transported from Pinewood to Rome in the early stages of the messy, drawn out production, though. Were some left at Pinewood for the Carry On team to eventually make use of?
Im not sure - that's what I wanted to find out. I know that sets and costumes were used in Cleo, and was interested in how it worked out that way.
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Old 24-07-2013, 12:47
Prince Monalulu
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I recall reading that Carry On Cleo used leftover sets from the Burton/Taylor picture. This documentary showed that the sets were transported from Pinewood to Rome in the early stages of the messy, drawn out production, though. Were some left at Pinewood for the Carry On team to eventually make use of?
I saw a load of sets getting smashed in the doc.
Probably a mixture of smashing up stuff that was too big/in poor condition/expensive to be moved.
The smaller/better quality sets been kept in storage by Pinewood, for use at some time in the future, they'd been paid for them.

I want to know more about that galleon with the gold leaf, expensive rigging and palm trees.
I could watch a good couple of hours about the nuts n bolts of the whole enterprise.
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Old 24-07-2013, 17:31
Jo March
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It's from 2001.



.
It says this is a new programme in the BBC 4 listings but I'm sure I saw a similar programme last Christmas on there ... anyone else remember?
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Old 24-07-2013, 19:20
gomezz
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Considering Elizabeth Taylor's health, it's amazing she made it to almost eighty.
I did wonder if they told the whole truth about this during the Pinewood hiatus?
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Old 24-07-2013, 22:23
Doghouse Riley
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I saw this film on its release at the cinema, the lasting memory is the opening credits where the mosaics changed into actual scenes. Other than that I wasn't over-impressed by Elizabeth Taylor's acting skills.
The actual making of the film and the disaster as were the attempts to film it in the UK, was well covered by the papers at the time.
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Old 24-07-2013, 22:35
woot_whoo
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Im not sure - that's what I wanted to find out. I know that sets and costumes were used in Cleo, and was interested in how it worked out that way.
I saw a load of sets getting smashed in the doc.
Probably a mixture of smashing up stuff that was too big/in poor condition/expensive to be moved.
The smaller/better quality sets been kept in storage by Pinewood, for use at some time in the future, they'd been paid for them.
If the Carry On team did use leftover sets (and I'm sure they did - it also appeared that they used a couple of crowd scene shots from 'Cleopatra') it will be the first of two times they benefitted from a movie featuring Burton and Taylor. In Carry On Henry, apparently Sid James used a costume that had been made for Burton in 'Anne of the Thousand Days' (in which Taylor had a blink and you'll miss it cameo).

I saw this film on its release at the cinema, the lasting memory is the opening credits where the mosaics changed into actual scenes. Other than that I wasn't over-impressed by Elizabeth Taylor's acting skills.
The actual making of the film and the disaster as were the attempts to film it in the UK was well covered by the papers at the time.
Elizabeth Taylor could be and often was a very effective actress. However, she excelled at playing weak and/or shrewish (sometimes borderline unstable, out of control) characters. Suddenly Last Summer, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf - she was great in those movies. Here she had to play a regal and commanding part - instead she came across as a screechy harridan. Of course, the film had many faults: the the dialogue was perfectly awful - so awful that no actor could make it work, and it was handicapped by poor planning and disastrous editing (as this documentary showed). But at root, it was clear that Taylor got the part because she was a huge star and stunningly attractive. She was all wrong for it, and made the Queen of the Nile look like a drunk socialite arguing her way out of a New York cocktail party.

I wish Sophia Loren had done the picture. Then again, the production was such a mess that it probably couldn't have been saved - and the world would have been denied the Hollywood romance of Taylor and Burton without the movie as it happened.
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Old 24-07-2013, 22:36
cornishpasty1
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Would a documentary like that be made today? Two hours allowed for depth of detail, but I must admit that my attention waned after the first hour. This isn't being critical of the programme, though I do believe most of what was gripping happened in the first sixty minutes. Rather, with so many distractions these days, two hours has become quite a big commitment. Would the producers, in 2013, trust the audience not to switch over to something else more instantly gratifying?
Pretty sure it was made for pay tv with an eye on being able to include it as a bonus feature on the dvd release.
It's unlikely to have aired on any of the main US networks.
Some of the documentaries being included on Blurays last for several hours.
As before , many of the longer documentaries get edited down to appear on network tv.
When C4 aired the 2 hour documentary on the Planet of the Apes movies it was chopped in half .
Same thing happened with The Fantasy Worlds of Irwin Allen although that did end up showing complete years later by BBC4
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Old 24-07-2013, 23:00
Doghouse Riley
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////



Elizabeth Taylor could be and often was a very effective actress. However, she excelled at playing weak and/or shrewish (sometimes borderline unstable, out of control) characters. Suddenly Last Summer, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf - she was great in those movies. Here she had to play a regal and commanding part - instead she came across as a screechy harridan. Of course, the film had many faults: the the dialogue was perfectly awful - so awful that no actor could make it work, and it was handicapped by poor planning and disastrous editing (as this documentary showed). But at root, it was clear that Taylor got the part because she was a huge star and stunningly attractive. She was all wrong for it, and made the Queen of the Nile look like a drunk socialite arguing her way out of a New York cocktail party.

I wish Sophia Loren had done the picture. Then again, the production was such a mess that it probably couldn't have been saved - and the world would have been denied the Hollywood romance of Taylor and Burton without the movie as it happened.
Yes she was fine in some other films, her performance in this was so disappointing after seeing her in "Butterfield 8," which was highly acclaimed and for which she got an Oscar for "Best Actress."
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Old 24-07-2013, 23:09
woot_whoo
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Yes she was fine in some other films, her performance in this was so disappointing after seeing her in "Butterfield 8," which was highly acclaimed and for which she got an Oscar for "Best Actress."
Very true - she was good in that too. I did notice the documentary implied that she received the Oscar more for beating the illness that nearly killed her rather than her performance, but it was all before my time so I don't know much about the politics of it.

I do wonder if 'Cleopatra' might have turned out to be a better film if it had went as originally planned - a lower budget historical drama with Joan Collins in the title role. I'm not a huge fan of Ms Collins, and do think she always *looked* much less classy than Taylor, but she did a fine job as an evil Egyptian Queen in 'Land of the Pharaohs'. I have to say, the dull and plodding 'Cleopatra' we all know at least boasted Rex Harrison, who was about the only saving grace. Roddy McDowall looked the part as Octavian - but yeesh, some of those lines...

"The soup is hot. The soup is cold. Antony is alive. Antony is dead."
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Old 24-07-2013, 23:21
Flukie
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Yes she was fine in some other films, her performance in this was so disappointing after seeing her in "Butterfield 8," which was highly acclaimed and for which she got an Oscar for "Best Actress."
Watching that programme it was the first time I'd ever seen it said that some thought she only got the Oscar for Butterfield 8 cos she'd recovered from her serious illness!
Like Hollywood rewarding her for her determination to get well when she nearly died!
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Old 25-07-2013, 16:20
Groundhogal
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Saw this thread and decided to watch. Not on catch-up or I-player, but repeated Fri 12.35am.
Thanks. Came on here to ask if it's repeated again. Missed the start so decided to record the repeat at 2am. Just sat down to watch it now and as soon as the speaking started, the picture shrunk to reveal a woman doing sign language. I put up a bit of cardboard to stop her distracting me but when the talking stops, the picture expands again ffs. nb tv companies, it's not just deaf people that can't read subtitles who stay up late.
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Old 25-07-2013, 16:22
woot_whoo
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Thanks. Came on here to ask if it's repeated again. Missed the start so decided to record the repeat at 2am. Just sat down to watch it now and as soon as the speaking started, the picture shrunk to reveal a woman doing sign language. I put up a bit of cardboard to stop her distracting me but when the talking stops, the picture expands again ffs. nb tv companies, it's not just deaf people that can't read subtitles who stay up late.
Deaf people are nocturnal.
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