Will this ever happen - 6hour Cleopatra release - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 05-10-2008, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
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As many of you know, the original Cleopatra starring Rex Harrison, et al. was planned as two movies. Ceasar and Cleopatra followed Anthony and Cleopatra. A six hour behemoth edited into a four hour version for general release. Much video and sound elements have gone missing for over forty years.

My question is simple : will the restored version of Cleopatra spanning the original six hours as intended by Joe Joseph L. Mankiewicz ever be released?
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post #2 of 15 Old 05-10-2008, 07:47 PM
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Once upon a time I would have thought no way. However, I have heard about what it took to get Spartacus remastered. That there were no prints left based on the theatrical presetation and how they picked up pieces from here and there and were able to splice together and remaster an excellent print (I believe it cost arong 1 million to do). Even adding things that were cut from the original due to censorship. Then there is the reconstruction of Nosferatu and remastering of Metropolis. Obviously, it comes down to finding the pieces from where ever they might exist and the funds and desire to do it.

It would be interesting to know whether anyone has tried (to find out how difficult it would be to find source material) and whether anyone thinks there is an interest out there to do it.
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post #3 of 15 Old 05-11-2008, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by smithb View Post

It would be interesting to know whether anyone has tried (to find out how difficult it would be to find source material) and whether anyone thinks there is an interest out there to do it.

From Wikipedia:
"The cut of the film which Mankiewicz screened for the studio was six hours long. This was cut to four hours for its initial premiere, but the studio demanded (over the objections of Mankiewicz) that the film be cut once more, this time to just barely over three hours to allow theaters to increase the number of showings per day. Due to the cuts certain details are left out of the film, such as Rufio's death.[3] Mankiewicz unsuccessfully attempted to convince the studio to split the film in two in order to preserve the original cut of the film. The film has now been released to DVD in its 243-minute premiere version, and efforts are under way to locate the remaining footage."

At one time there was an on line petition, which was started in 2002, to show Fox that there is an interest in this project:

"Cleopatra: The Restoration Petition" (Tried to provide the link but forum disallowed it like it does eBay links.)

Here's the link "petition on line.com/andyb86/petition.html" (copy and paste into your address bar then remove the spaces between 'petition', 'on, and 'line' if you want to check it out).

If you follow the link you will receive the following:

"deactivated due to inactivity, archived off server 2004.0528"

The 2001 3 Disc "Cleopatra Five Star Collection" although OOP it is available on e-Bay and from other sources. This disc has the original 248 minute release plus another 3 hours of extras.

I've found several other sites indicating that there is and has been talk of trying to locate the missing footage and release a 6 hour director's cut.

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post #4 of 15 Old 05-11-2008, 07:15 AM
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Why would 20th Century Fox preserve the footage? What survives is sort of a bore- one could argue additional stuff might improve the film, but it might just increase the boredom. And it seems very unlikely they could produce anything like a seamless whole, as the did with the reconstructed Lawrence or Spartacus.

CW Hinkle
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post #5 of 15 Old 05-11-2008, 07:24 AM
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?was any of the excised stuff interesting...

like what Ridley scott was allowed to be put back in Kingdom Of Heaven

Cleopatra was pretty enjoyable . Should look great on BD
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post #6 of 15 Old 05-22-2008, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airboss View Post

The 2001 3 Disc "Cleopatra Five Star Collection" although OOP it is available on e-Bay and from other sources. This disc has the original 248 minute release plus another 3 hours of extras.

Just received a mint copy of this today!! The Case, discs and booklet are all in mint condition, this is on my "to watch" list for this weekend!

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post #7 of 15 Old 05-23-2008, 02:42 PM
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Robert Harris, a Hollywood film restorer, said sometime ago on another forum that 45 minutes was cut from Cleopatra. The fully restored Cleopatra would be 285 minutes, not 360 minutes.
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post #8 of 15 Old 05-23-2008, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ernie6 View Post

Robert Harris, a Hollywood film restorer, said sometime ago on another forum that 45 minutes was cut from Cleopatra. The fully restored Cleopatra would be 285 minutes, not 360 minutes.

You are correct, I'm assuming you are referring to this post (see post #3). He states:

"Cleopatra was to be two films, with a total running time of slightly less than 5 hours, not six.

Other than a scene at the opening of the film which had both Cleopatra and and brother in their tents prepared for battle, the most important scenes lost involved Roddy McDowall, not Elizabeth Taylor. The opening of the film, as it now exists... didn't."


The Five Star Collection Disc set I have shows a running time of 243 minutes vice 248 minutes as I had stated earlier. IMDB does show a directors cut listed as 320 minutes.

From IMDB:
Runtime:192 min | 243 min (roadshow version) | Argentina:233 min | Germany:233 min (TV version) | Sweden:232 min | USA:320 min (director's cut)

I will be watching this tonight since a new episode of BSG will not air until next Friday.

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post #9 of 15 Old 05-24-2008, 09:42 AM
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Watched disc 1 last night and disc 2 this morning. Total running time from the very beginning to the end of the credits for the two discs 250 min.

While viewing this I could not help but be amazed at how much the art of making movies has progressed (not to include CGI) and the skills of actors/actresses have improved. It would be interesting to see a remake of this film on the order of LOTRs, etc.

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post #10 of 15 Old 02-10-2012, 04:04 PM
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It appears this may never happen. There is a new extra feature in the blu-ray edition of "Cleopatra" (I got the Japanese import this week) on the film's lost footage in which a member of the Fox archives dept thinks the footage cut from the 5+ hour version that Mankiewicz prepared was discarded in the late 70's when the studio cleaned out its archive. The feature also mentions that there is rumour of an approx. 8 hour Black & White workprint version of the film that may have been in the posession of a collector, but they were not able to locate it.
While the archivist hopes the footage may be out there somewhere, it looks like the trail for the footage to recreate Mankiewicz's original vision of two seperate films is getting cold and he feels the longest version of "Cleopatra" we are ever going to get is the 4 hr 6 min roadshow version from the NYC premiere on the blu-ray.
As a fan of the film this is a major dissapointment, I for one always wanted to see the expanded version of the Marc Antony portion of the film which I always felt was choppy and rushed in the roadshow version of the film.

BTW the picture on the blu-ray is out standing- i have only had a chance to watch Cleopatra 's entrance into the Roman forum
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post #11 of 15 Old 02-10-2012, 05:07 PM
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Any idea when the US version is coming out? I checked Amazon already but it was suppose to be 1/30/2012?

Yes, I recalled that was some grand entrance.
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post #12 of 15 Old 02-10-2012, 05:19 PM
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Fox has not announced at US release date yet. You can order a region free version from Amazon UK. The British version is alot cheaper than the Japanese deluxe version I ordered from Japan. The Japanese version includes a book of artwork and stills (the writing is Japanese though). I ended up paying about $90 with Fed-Ex shipping from Japan- i couldn't wait for regular airmail as I am a big fan of the film. The Japanese deluxe version was about $70 US (without the shipping charge) the British version (without the book) I believe is about half that without overseas shipping.
The link to the Japanese I saw last week on The Digital Bits website.
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post #13 of 15 Old 02-11-2012, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyc1962 View Post

Fox has not announced at US release date yet. You can order a region free version from Amazon UK. The British version is alot cheaper than the Japanese deluxe version I ordered from Japan. The Japanese version includes a book of artwork and stills (the writing is Japanese though). I ended up paying about $90 with Fed-Ex shipping from Japan- i couldn't wait for regular airmail as I am a big fan of the film. The Japanese deluxe version was about $70 US (without the shipping charge) the British version (without the book) I believe is about half that without overseas shipping.
The link to the Japanese I saw last week on The Digital Bits website.

FYI, if my recent experience is any guide, shipping costs on BDs bought from Amazon UK are likely to be reasonable. I recently bought the Downton Abbey Season 1 BDs from Amazon UK for less than $20, including shipping. Amazon UK put the BDs in the Royal Mail, who turned them over to USPS in the US and the next thing I knew they came through my mail slot.
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post #14 of 15 Old 02-11-2012, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airboss View Post

While viewing this I could not help but be amazed at how much the art of making movies has progressed (not to include CGI) and the skills of actors/actresses have improved. It would be interesting to see a remake of this film on the order of LOTRs, etc.

Could it be that the way they portayed their characters back then was more theatrical and (overly) dramatic? The 70s if I'm not mistaken started the more 'natural' approach, which we can relate to a lot more as an audience. On a side note, I watched a few Greta Garbo movies recently, and the way she acted seemed much more in line of what we see today, without all the mannerisms of her time. She was very natural and very modern, besides her timeless haunting beauty. Amazing imo for movies that were made in the 30s/40s.
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post #15 of 15 Old 02-13-2012, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Morpheo View Post

Could it be that the way they portayed their characters back then was more theatrical and (overly) dramatic? The 70s if I'm not mistaken started the more 'natural' approach, which we can relate to a lot more as an audience. On a side note, I watched a few Greta Garbo movies recently, and the way she acted seemed much more in line of what we see today, without all the mannerisms of her time. She was very natural and very modern, besides her timeless haunting beauty. Amazing imo for movies that were made in the 30s/40s.

There were great, natural performances even back in the '20s. The real problem is that most audiences today just don't have an appreciation for or understanding of melodrama as a dramatic type and assume that the acting is "bad" or "not natural" when that was never the intent.
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