Blu-ray Review “Cleopatra: 50th Anniversary Edition”

cleopatra-bluStarring: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Carroll O’Connor, Roddy McDowall, Martin Landau
Directors: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Run Time: 251 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

If you are a film buff then you know about the story behind 1963’s “Cleopatra”. The epic film was shot on 70mm film and cost an enormous $42 million to make,which is the equivalent of $300 million today. The film nearly bankrupted Twentieth Century Fox at the time, but despite its production issues it won four Academy Awards and has since been considered has became an iconic classic. In honor of the film’s 50th anniversary, 20th Century Fox has delivered a beautifully restored and presented 243-minute stunning high definition version this film. This is a must but if I had to recommend, I would say purchase the Limited Edition DigiBook edition, which comes out the same day.

Official Premise: Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this epic spectacle – its opulence and sweeping grandeur have never been more glorious. Elizabeth Taylor stars as Cleopatra, the glamorous and cunning queen of Egypt. To secure her hold on power, she seduces the rulers of Rome, only to meet her match in Mark Antony, played by Richard Burton. Their passionate romance could decide the fate of the world’s greatest empires.

Like I said 20th Century Fox did an amazing job restoring this film and its 1080p transfer does not look like a 50 year old year at all.  It comes with an aspect ratio of 2.22:1, which shows all the fantastic detail and depth that this film comes with.  Since this film was made for large format screen, the visual “WOW” of this Blu-ray will blow you away. The colors, set, costumes are all just so stunning. I am shocked that this film is 50 years old since literally it looks like it was done yesterday. Top that with an amazing DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track and this is a perfect release. The action, romance, drama are well extremely represented here, esepcially Alex North’s absolutely amazing score.

The special features are split over two discs and are very impressive. There is a commentary track with Chris Mankiewicz, Tom Mankiewicz, Martin Landau and Jack Brodsky, which is fantastic and a must listen. “Cleopatra Through the Ages: A Cultural History” is a short look at Cleopatra throughout history. “Cleopatra’s Missing Footage” is only eight minutes of lost footage, despite the endless reports of eight hour cuts of this film which will most likely never surface. So eight minutes is not eight hours but it still is something. “Fox Movie Channel Presents Fox Legacy with Tom Rothman” is a nice overview of the production. “The Cleopatra Papers: A Private Correspondence” includes reprints of letters and memos sent during the film’s shoot.

Disc two comes more great features including the continuation of the commentary track. “Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood” is a two hour in depth documentary on the film and it’s legacy. “The Fourth Star of Cleopatra” is a vintage featurette on the film’s production design. “Fox Movietone News” is various clips from Movietone items. Lastly there are three theatrical trailers for the film. Great special features rounding out a great release! Highly recommended!

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