Cleopatra is one of those polarizing figures in history. From a certain perspective, one could argue that she was a strong female leader in a world where men normally ruled. On the other hand, her time in power was not scandal free.
In the 1963 film, Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor plays the eponymous queen. Rex Harrison is Julius Caesar and Richard Burton is Mark Anthony. The film starts with the initial introduction of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar and ends years later with Cleopatra’s suicide after the death of Mark Anthony.
I have complicated feelings about this film. One hand, it is as historically accurate as films of this nature can be from this period (including the fact that Arab/African characters, including Cleopatra herself, are played by white actors). The other thing is that this film will forever be associated with the Eddie Fisher/Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton scandal. At the time of the making of the film, Elizabeth Taylor was married to Eddie Fisher, who left his first wife, Debbie Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor. By the time filming was complete, Eddie and Elizabeth’s relationship was at an end and Elizabeth was headed toward her next husband, Richard Burton.
Do I recommend it? Well it is super long and it is, for lack of a better term a spectacle that I am not quite sure is 100% historically accurate. The answer is maybe.
“Sugar and spice and everything nice, that’s what girls are made of”
“Well behaved women seldom make history”.
From an early age, many young girls are taught to be respectable, quiet and nice. If a female chooses to act out or move away from the standard ideals of what a female should be, she is labeled a bad girl.
Bad Girls: Siren’s, Jezebels, Murderesses And Other Female Villains, written by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple and illustrated by Rebecca Gray was released last year. The book profiles women across history who chose to break the rules on how to be a female. The women they write about include Cleopatra, Mata Hari, Catherine The Great and Bonnie Parker.
I liked this book. Written in down to earth language with a colorful comic book style drawing that accompanies the mini biography of the women, this book is excellent. While the targeted age range for this book is 9-12, that does not mean that an adult can enjoy this book as much as a child would.
I recommend it.
Bob Dylan once wrote that the times are changing.
While the times are constantly changing, Hollywood seems stuck in the film stone age.
A new film adaptation of the Exodus will be premiering in December. Exodus: G0ds and Kings stars Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Rhamses.
Am I the only one who thinks Hollywood is still colorblind? Joel Edgerton and Christian Bale are good actors, but they are Caucasian. Personally, I don’t think it would have hurt to have a more diversified cast. Prince of Egypt, even though it was an animated film, the characters were not all Caucasian.
I think we can give some allowances for Cleopatra and The Ten Commandments.
But that was then and this is now. It’s time to expand Hollywood’s horizons and let us see more diverse actors on screen.