Assignment 1

Assignment 01


Compare the portrayal of Cleopatra in the 1963 film with representations of her in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century as discussed on the DVD video ‘Cleopatra”. What aspects of her portrayal have changed or stayed the same, and why?

The 1963 20th Century Fox version of ‘Cleopatra’ is probably the most popular Cleopatra film to date, the film is a romantic film which portrays Cleopatra as a very intelligent woman, a shrewd stateswoman and having no “girlish ditsy ness” she is a very powerful and respected woman, who knows how to get what she wants. For example she uses the Romans preconceptions of her against themselves.
This film also had an off screen Romance which viewers loved as they felt it joined the past and present, off screen and on screen. This romance was between Taylor and Burton (Cleopatra and Mark Anthony).
This is very different to the 1917 version in which Cleopatra was also a powerful woman but in a threatening way, this is due to at the time the film was made powerful women were seen to be dangerous and sexual manipulators. The 1963 film seems to have taken inspiration from the 1917 and 1934 versions, the 1934 Cleopatra was very smiley and flirtatious with her eyes and body, the film was much more about romance than anything else, it was even advertised as a “Epic Romance”. At the time this film was made the role of women had changed again there was much more women working, premarital sex and divorce. This Cleopatra is clearly torn between her love of Mark Anthony and Caesar and even says she is not the queen of Egypt but a woman in love. She puts love above being the queen.

The 1963 Production was a very expensive film with one scene alone costing one million dollars. This film is full of amazing sets, and costumes, the queen’s entrance is extremely elaborate showing her wealth and extravagance.
The other films however didn’t have this amazing budget, but were still able show as best they...