Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Cleopatra Reviews

Chaucer's Wife of Bath plays Cleolizzie, the million-dollar sultana of 60s jetset sirens, in enough eyeliner to resurrect Theda Bara, and ten costumes for every occasion. This is not a film---it's a deal, decorated with extensive publicity, but weighed down by listless direction and lots of nasal talk, talk, talk. Even fans of camp would have to admit what's here is about an hour's worth of television MOW. Taylor brings notoriety and cleavage to her performance as Cleopatra; she's at her best when Cleo makes her entrance into Rome, when Taylor worried that the Catholic extras might riot and kill her. The scene is a triumph of morass over morality. Hurricane Liz conquers Rome! Otherwise, she plays the Egyptian tigress (original choice was Susan Hayward, an expert at tigresses, Biblical and otherwise) as a spewing, mewing, pampered Roman housecat who makes fusses because she can. Would the film have been better with Hayward, Peter Finch and Stephen Boyd, directed by Mamoulian? Perhaps, but at least Harrison, taking over for Finch, strikes a few waspish notes. Otherwise, it's a Vegas-style history lesson, but dammit, a boring one, depriving us of a thousand laughs and cracks.