Review: Antony and Cleopatra (1972) - A Hollywood Adaptation of Shakespeare's Tragic Romance
Antony and Cleopatra is a 1972 film directed by and starring Charlton Heston as Mark Antony, the Roman general who falls in love with the Egyptian queen Cleopatra, played by Hildegard Neil. The film is based on the play by William Shakespeare, but it cuts some scenes and dialogues to fit the cinematic format. The film also features Eric Porter as Enobarbus, John Castle as Octavius Caesar, Fernando Rey as Lepidus, and Carmen Sevilla as Octavia.
The film focuses on the political and personal conflicts that arise from Antony's affair with Cleopatra, which alienates him from his fellow triumvirs and his wife Octavia. The film depicts the battles between Antony and Octavius, as well as the internal struggles of Antony and Cleopatra, who are torn between their love and their duty. The film also shows the influence of Cleopatra's loyal servants, such as Alexas (Juan Luis Galiardo) and Charmian (VerÃnica ForquÃ), on her decisions.
The film is notable for its lavish production values, such as the costumes, sets, locations, and special effects. The film was shot in Spain, Switzerland, and Egypt, and it features scenes of naval battles, gladiator fights, and pyramids. The film also has a sweeping musical score by John Scott. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound.
The film has received mixed reviews from critics and audiences. Some praised the film for its epic scope, its faithful adaptation of Shakespeare's play, and its performances, especially by Heston and Neil. Others criticized the film for its slow pace, its uneven editing, and its lack of emotional depth. Some also found Heston's acting to be too stiff and melodramatic compared to the other actors.
Antony and Cleopatra is a film that tries to balance the demands of Hollywood and Shakespeare. It is a spectacle that showcases the grandeur and tragedy of ancient history. It is also a drama that explores the complexities and contradictions of human nature. It is a film that may not appeal to everyone, but it is a film that deserves to be seen by those who appreciate Shakespeare's works.
The film was released in 1972, but it was not a commercial success. It had a limited theatrical release in the United States and Europe, and it was mostly shown on television. The film was also overshadowed by another adaptation of Antony and Cleopatra, starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, which was released in 1974. The film was later released on DVD and Blu-ray, but it is still not widely available.
The film is considered by some to be one of Heston's passion projects. He had played Antony before in Julius Caesar (1950) and he wanted to revisit the role. He also wanted to direct the film himself, after his experience with The War Lord (1965). He co-wrote the screenplay with Federico De Urrutia, and he hired Joe Canutt as the second unit director. Canutt was Heston's stunt double in Ben-Hur (1959), and he helped to choreograph the chariot race scene.
The film is also considered by some to be one of the most faithful adaptations of Shakespeare's play. It preserves most of the original language and structure, and it does not add or change any major plot points. It also tries to capture the historical and cultural context of the story, such as the contrast between Rome and Egypt, and the role of fate and prophecy. The film also features some of Shakespeare's most famous lines, such as \"Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale / Her infinite variety\" and \"The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne / Burn'd on the water\". 0efd9a6b88