Richard Barrow PI no. B6096456.

Assignment 01.

Part 1 Cleopatra.

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 portryal have changed or stayed the
same, and why?

Cleopatra was most famously portrayed in the 1963 film starring Elizabeth

Taylor and Richard Burton. More recent works also featured on the DVD include

Carry on Cleo (1964), Xena Warrior Princess (2000), Rome (HBO 2005), and

Cleopatra (1999).

In the 1963 film Cleopatra’s wealth and opulence are there for all to see. Not only is

she shown as being beautiful, but we also see the wily politician who is able to exploit

the shortcomings of her opponents. The film also made some attempt to bring the past

back to life ( Commentary, 2008, DVD Video).   The result of this would have been to

entertain, and, to some extent, inform.

The 1964 film Carry on Cleo was clearly designed to amuse. The opening credits of

the film acknowledge that the past has been manipulated. Famous scenes from the

story   of Cleopatra are tweaked in order to make the audience laugh. Cleopatra is

shown to be wealthy and beautiful, but also quite empty headed. (Commentary, 2008,

DVD Video).

The beauty and wealth are present in the Cleopatra (1999) and Rome (2005)

productions. Cleopatra does, however, become more involved in the action. In

the former she fights in battle, and strikes a Roman soldier in the genitals. In the latter

she makes direct use of her sexuality.   The same applies with Xena – Warrior

Princess (2000) (Commentary, 2008, DVD Video).

It is acknowledged that the cultural values of an audience affect how they

view a subject (Fear, 2008, p.24). Given that Cleopatra was a woman it would make

sense to consider how our cultural view of women has changed in the time span

covered by these...