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Blu-ray Release: Cleopatra

May 28, 2013

Cleopatra Blu-ray CoverToday, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released the 1963 classic Cleopatra for the first time on Blu-ray, in honour of the 50th anniversary.  A sprawling historical epic of impressive costumes and production design, the film tells the story of Egyptian queen Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) and her romance with Mark Antony (Richard Burton).  Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Cleopatra won four Academy Awards and was nominated for five more, including Best Picture.

Made for a budget of $44 million that with inflation still makes this one of the most expensive films ever made, Cleopatra became the highest grossing movie of 1963 with $26 million at the box office, while threatening to send the studio into bankruptcy because of the budget.  Rumours also swirled about Elizabeth Taylor having an affair with Richard Burton, drawing plenty of public attention to the already storied production.  The beautifully restored Blu-ray offers a pristine image that truly does justice to the classic performances and lavish visuals of the film, and Cleopatra remains an important part of Hollywood history.

The two disc Blu-ray set comes packed with numerous featurettes and a 119 minute documentary titled Cleopatra: The Film that Changed Hollywood.  Also included is a commentary track with Chris Mankiewicz, Tom Mankiewicz, Martin Landau and Jack Brodsky.

Cleopatra is 251 minutes and rated G.

-John C.

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