You’ve heard about the enormous budget, you know the stars, you’ve seen the gold lamé. Let’s do this!
We start with Rome finishing up a civil war, and Caesar is victorious.
Caesar heads to Egypt, where Cleopatra’s lil’ bro Ptolemy is being a whiny bitch.
The Egyptians give Caesar a fancy gift. Caesar seems embarrassed he forgot to bring something in exchange.
Someone sends Caesar another gift. Dang, he really should have thought about bringing a bottle of wine.
Ta da! It’s Cleopatra herself! Not the most comfortable way to travel.
Caesar and Cleo do some wheeling and dealing.
Cleopatra thinks important thoughts while doing her makeup. Also, half nude.
Next day, lounging around, Cleopatra decides to give Caesar a treat in her bath.
Machinations continue, and the Romans burn the Library at Alexandria. Cleo gets pissed.
There’s some more boring battles and armor, blah blah blah. But meanwhile, Cleopatra practices her eyeliner on fake heads, and I’m kind of obsessed with this scene (OK, really, it’s about her brother trying to poison her, but check these details!).
Ptolemy’s overdressed eunuch is sentenced to death for trying to poison Cleopatra.
After the trial, Cleopatra takes pity on Rex / Ceasar.
At least that snoozy kiss gets Cleo the crown she wants.
Time for some boring post-coronation boning.
To continue the least sexy date ever, let’s visit the tomb of Alexander the Great.
Back in Rome, Antony tells Ceasar’s wife she’s been ditched.
Time for a pagan ritual!
Cleopatra and Caesar have a baby, destined to wear pleather and gold lamé. Back in Rome, the people get cranky at these developments. Roddy McDowell, getting typecast as a sneaky bastard, stirs the pot.
Caesar has to leave Egypt and fix shit in Rome.
Good news! Caesar is declared dictator for life, so Cleo makes a beeline for Rome.
Arriving in town, Cleopatra sends in her advance team, consisting of…
Cleopatra and her kid settle in Rome, thinking Ceaser-as-dictator is gonna work out in their favor.
But lots of boring political crap in Rome and equally boring costumes mean bad juju is coming for Cleo.
The conspiracy in the Roman Senate turns on Caesar (‘Et tu, Brute?‘), and Rex Harrison is out of the picture. So Cleopatra has to GTFO and head back to Egpt.
Sneakily little Roddy McDowell claims Ceaser as a title, while Marc Antony does the hard work as he pines for Cleo. In Egypt, Cleopatra puts on her big hat and gets down to business.
Marc Antony wants to meet her again. She debates the merits of this idea while in the bath.
She’ll meet him on her terms, natch.
Marc Antony wears his turquoise and leopard armor for the occasion.
The sparks fly between Marc and Cleopatra at dinner.
Marc Antony gets drunk while watching half-naked girls dance.
He finally goes around to find the real Cleopatra in bed, bored and unimpressed. He kills more screen time getting a lot of stupid man-stuff off his chest about Caesar before he and Cleo can makeout.
They do the deed, and he dilly-dallies about returning to Rome.
In Rome, Octavian finagled a political marriage for Marc Antony. Uh-oh.
Marc Antony returns to Egypt to fix things with Cleopatra. Good luck, mister.
Finally, he gets some private time with her. OK, watch the costumes. First, Cleopatra is in red and purple with a gold fully beaded wig, while Marc Antony is in white armor.
Now, practically mid-word, they’re in a different room but with different costumes. And it happens TWICE!
WE’RE STILL TALKING HERE.
Back in the Egyptian throne room, it’s all shiny.
Egypt and Rome are gearing up for a fight. Octavian’s still out there somewhere causing trouble.
We get one last wacky Cleo costume during the battle, but mostly it’s all smoke and armor.
Cleopatra leaves the battle when she thinks Marc Antony is dead, but, of course, he isn’t and he’s gonna hold that against her.
Tedious Octavian is still advancing, so there’s some court biz to deal with.
One last argument and cuddle, then Marc Antony is gone (this is gonna be a pattern with Burton-Taylor).
Cleopatra sends her son off to get killed while she contemplates her own lack of a future.
Marc Antony does the manly thing and falls on his sword.
Octavian takes over Egypt, and his pals take a bath.
While Cleopatra gets it on with an asp.
Geezuz, that was four hours and a lot of lurex! And I only focused on Elizabeth Taylor’s record-setting 65 costumes. You can click on most of these pix to enlarge them and get all the super-shiny details.
Have you managed to make it all the way through Cleopatra? What did you think?