CLEOPATRA: The critics and the paying customers alike seem to be divided into hostile camps in their reactions to this long-awaited, forty-million-dollar cinematic mammoth, the costliest and most intensively ballyhooed movie ever made. In my opinion it is well worth seeing — and worth hearing, too, because writerdirector Joseph L. Mankiewicz has put urbanity and mature irony into his treatment of the story of the Queen of the Nile without trying to imitate such lofty forerunners as Shakespeare and Shaw. Even as a wide-screen “spectacular" the film is impressive, but more emphasis has been placed on the characters than
on battles and pageantry. Richard Burton as Mark Antony is the least memorable of the three big-name principals, in an ill-defined role said to have been maimed in the cutting room in an effort to bring the final version under four hours. Elizabeth Taylor, both royal and voluptuous, is a successful Cleopatra, although her limited voice often makes her best contributions more visual than aural. Rex Harrison is the undisputed hit of the show as a subtle and sardonic Julius Caesar, and he has been favored with the choice lines in the scenario.
¡¡TW~’ COME BLOW YOUR HORN: The laughs, in my own experience, are meagre rather than abundant in this “Jewish family” comedy starring Frank Sinatra as a not-quitc-fortyish bachelor who coaches his adolescent brother in the folkways of a playboy’s life. They share a vast Manhattan apartment which even King Farouk might consider a bit too pretentious.
22T3 LANCELOT AND GUINEVERE: Well in advance of the inevitable film version of Broadway’s Camelot, producer-director Cornel Wilde has made a surprisingly good Arthurian epic. It's much superior to any of the sword-operas he has adorned, as an actor, in recent years. Brian Aherne is an aging, disenchanted but compassionate King Arthur. Jean Wallace is his adulterous consort, who retires to a nunnery in the final reel. As Lancelot, Wilde tussles doggedly with an implausible “French accent,” but his staging of the jarringly realistic battles is strong and confident.
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