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A Closer Look at Hollywood’s Historical Accuracy in the 1963 Film ‘Cleopatra’


A Nearer Have a look at Hollywood’s Historic Accuracy within the 1963 Movie ‘Cleopatra’

Scene of Cleopatra’s entrance into Rome within the 1963 movie Cleopatra.

‘Extravagant’ is probably the right phrase to explain Cleopatra, the Oscar-winning 1963 movie. An nearly 5 hour epic starring Elizabeth Taylor (Cleopatra), Richard Burton (MarkAntony) and Rex Harrison (Julius Caesar), Cleopatra takes audiences by means of the story of the well-known historical Egyptian queen—from her declare to the throne and love affair with Julius Caesar, to her romance with Mark Antony and eventual downfall. 

Quickly after its launch, the movie was nominated for 9 Oscars, finally successful 4: Finest Artwork Path, Finest Cinematography, Finest Visible Results and Finest Costume. All of those components, and most significantly the costumes, have been certainly extravagant. In spite of everything, Cleopatra was the most costly movie that had ever been made on the time of its launch.

Sure, the costumes have been vibrantly colourful, luxurious and awe-inspiring, however have been they correct? Not solely. For probably the most half, the movie’s depiction of how issues would have truly been like in Historic Egypt and Rome are almost definitely removed from actuality.

That is significantly true with regards to Cleopatra’s costumes. Whereas Historic Egyptians (particularly royalty) have been identified to adorn themselves with jewels and elaborate items of knickknack, the movie’s costumes think about an Historic Egyptian sense of fashion that includes very trendy 1960s aesthetics with regards to cuts and form-fitting attire. 

An instance of certainly one of Elizabeth Taylor’s (Cleopatra) form-fitting, modern-cut attire.

Historic Egyptians have been additionally identified to put on wigs; whereas they do make use of this historic reality within the movie, Taylor’s hair would oftentimes even be introduced in very 1960s coiffed hairstyles. Apart from costumes and hair, Cleopatra’s make-up, although largely Historic Egyptian-inspired, hosts a contact of 1960s glam to the general look. 

Along with this, there have been sure components to the movie that appeared fairly far off to the depiction of the time. This was particularly evident within the questionable—and extremely dramatic—entrance of Cleopatra to Rome. The doorway was very ‘Prince Ali’ Aladdin-esque, with multitudes of dancers wearing questionable costumes, grand ornaments, flying pigeons and a lot extra. 

The ultimate a part of Cleopatra’s grand entrance into Rome.

Along with the visible side, there may be additionally the query of the historic accuracy of the particular story or occasions that happen. The movie’s story truly offers a relatively correct account of historical past, breaking apart Cleopatra’s involvement with Caesar and her rise to the throne within the first half of the movie, after which her involvement with Mark Anthony following Caesar’s loss of life and her final downfall within the second half of the movie. There might have been some alterations for the sake of drama, particularly with romances and the actors’ common performances, however aside from that, the occasions are fairly true to historical past.

Elizabeth Taylor (Cleopatra) with Rex Harrison (Julius Caesar).

In the end, the movie is definitely an excellent watch for many who want to be taught extra concerning the lifetime of Cleopatra and the occasions that occurred in historical past on the time, protecting in thoughts that there are fairly just a few dramatic embellishments and exaggerations right here and there. 

In contrast to the storyline nevertheless, the movie’s general aesthetic shouldn’t be probably the most correct illustration of historical past—it’s in spite of everything, a Hollywood movie, made to entertain and provides folks one thing they’d need or like to see. 

The movie is dramatic in each sense—from the costumes and surroundings, to the romances and performances. It could appear exaggerated and stylized to the purpose that it could even anger viewers right now (particularly because of the shortage of range within the primarily caucasian forged), nevertheless, one should remember the fact that it was launched at a unique time, and needed to cater to what was fashionable on the time. Moreover, the movie needed to hold the drama alive—and that it did. 

Elizabeth Taylor (Cleopatra) with Richard Burton (Mark Anthony).

With the upcoming launch of a brand new Cleopatra biopic, and the controversy the casting selection has been met with, it’s price noting how far we have now come by way of social change. Though the fact of issues is that Hollywood tends to go for profitable endeavors—and this will likely come within the type of having an actress like Gal Gadot star within the upcoming remake—it’s price noting that folks’s voices are actually loud sufficient to be heard with regards to casting selections. 

Whereas the casting for the remake is questionable, time will inform whether or not or not Hollywood will give us one other mere ‘extravagant’ blockbuster movie, or if it is going to try to inform us a narrative that stays true to the grandness of Egyptian historical past. 

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