Starring Elizabeth Taylor as the iconic queen, this lengthy epic covers the highs and lows of Cleopatra's reign over Egypt and her relationships and alliances with two powerful Roman figures: Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison) and Marc Antony (Richard Burton). It is a technical marvel, and the film's set pieces are a spectacular achievement for the period it was produced. Of course, the performances are also worth mentioning, as they carry the weight of the material. Taylor, unfortunately, is overshadowed by her male co-stars, with Harrison and Burton delivering more interesting takes on their characters. But the only performance I'd call more than acceptable would be Roddy McDowall's small role as Octavian, the fierce rival of Marc Antony. Even though the story is interesting, the film is just too long. Epics can be over 4 hours long, but they can also be much better than this. Still, it's easy to see why the film was lavished with so many Oscar nods at the time.
The film received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Harrison), Best Art Direction (Color), Best Cinematography (C), Best Costume Design (C), Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound, and Best Special Effects. It won awards for Best Art Direction (C), Best Cinematography (C), Best Costume Design (C), and Best Special Effects.
Trivia: A 6-hour cut of the film was reduced to 4 hours, but it required 49 pages of reshoots for the new version to make sense.
How the West Was Won (1963) - ***
The film received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction (Color), Best Cinematography (C), Best Costume Design (C), Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Sound. It won awards for Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound.
Trivia: It was shot by 4 Oscar-winning cinematographers (William H. Daniels, Milton R. Krasner, Charles Lang, and Joseph LaShelle).