Ready the ridiculously elaborate headdresses, there is a new film in the works about the life of Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt. While Angelina Jolie is rumored to star in this newest film, three classic film stars have also played the Egyptian queen.
Claudette Colbert starred in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1934 epic, Cleopatra. Colbert’s co-stars included Warren Williams as Julius Caesar and Henry Wilcoxon as Marc Antony. The film is well-remembered for its extravagant art deco sets and more risque imagery due to the Hays Code having just taken effect that same year.
Vivien Leigh appeared in the 1945 film production of George Bernard Shaw’s play, Caesar and Cleopatra with Claude Rains c0-starring as Julius Caesar. This was the most expensive film ever made in Britain at the time and flopped at the box office almost ending director and producer Gabriel Pascal’s career.
Probably the best known portrayal of Cleopatra is by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 epic, Cleopatra. Rex Harrison and Richard Burton starred as Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, respectively. The film was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and cost $44 million dollars to make (about $307 million today), a record high at the time.
For those of you who think this second post about Gossip Girl is two too many (*cough* Alix), hear me out. The powers at be at GG must love classic film because week after week, the episode titles are inspired by movies from the golden age of Hollywood.
Hi, Society (High Society): 1956 remake of The Philadelphia Story starring Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra. You can read our review here.
Roman Holiday (Roman Holiday, 1953): Audrey Hepburn plays a princess who escapes royal life for a day, Gregory Peck is the newspaper reporter who accompanies her. Hepburn won the Best Actress Oscar for this performance.
The Magnificent Archibalds (The Magnificent Ambersons, 1942): An Orson Welles film about an upper class Midwestern family in the early 1900′s.
It’s A Wonderful Lie (It’s A Wonderful Life, 1946): James Stewart plays a man who is saved from committing suicide by his guardian angel. It’s the movie that’s always on tv during Christmas.
Gone With The Will (Gone With The Wind, 1939): My favorite all-time film. The film follows the life of headstrong southern belle Scarlett O’ Hara through the Civil War and its aftermath.
Southern Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Gentleman Prefer Blondes, 1953): Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell movie featuring the song “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”.
Enough About Eve (All About Eve, 1950): As we’ve said many times on this site: watch. this. movie. Bitingly clever script. Impeccable cast. And narration by Shere Khan (yes, from The Jungle Book).
The Lady Vanished (The Lady Vanishes, 1939): One of Alfred Hitchcock’s British films. Referenced by Carrie Fisher in When Harry Met Sally with the line “You’re the most contemptible person I’ve ever met…”.
The Treasure of Serena Madre (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948): John Huston (Anjelica’s dad) directed this notable Humphrey Bogart film. The line “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges” in Blazing Saddles is a variation of one of the lines from this film.
The opening scene of this week’s episode of Gossip Girl entitled “Enough About Eve” (available here until next Monday or so) recreates the beginning of one of our all-time favorites, All About Eve. The script continues with references to Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, Charade, and What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?
Though undoubtedly most of the GG audience won’t get some of these allusions to classic film, some will be compelled to do a little research. So thank you, Gossip Girl (what??) for furthering our mission of introducing Gen Y to classic film.
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner