Elizabeth Taylor never looked more ravishing on screen than in Cleopatra, the 1963 epic whose restored four-hour version was shown at Cannes this year and now gets a 50th anniversary cinema re-release and Blu-ray edition. Getting through 65 costume changes in the course of the film, Taylor looks stunning – and so does the film, which cost $44million (equivalent to $330million today), went hopelessly over budget and almost bankrupted studio 20th Century Fox . Admittedly, the drama in between the great set piece scenes is distinctly stodgy, with Taylor’s Egyptian queen ensnaring first Rex Harrison’s Julius Caesar and then Richard Burton’s Marc Anthony in her wiles. But the scenes between Taylor and Burton – who famously and scandalously began their very public affair during the shoot – still give off a spark.
Cleopatra is in cinemas nationwide from Friday 12th July and the 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray is currently available from 2oth Century Fox Home Entertainment.