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Is a shorter version of Cleopatra possible?


LetThemEatCake
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Hello everybody I'm new to the forum, the reason why I joined the forum is because I would like to know if it would be possible to request a new shorter version of 1963's Cleopatra from 20th Century Fox? I personally love the film but it's practically unwatchable. I also feel sad because people dismiss this film because they can't watch it. The 50th re-release flopped in theaters and that demonstrates its reputation. I believe the film can be taken down to three hours. Is there a way to make them listen?

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Perhaps because your statement seems to be self-contradictory.  It's difficult to understand how you can love a movie that you find unwatchable.  Maybe a clearer way to say it is that you like the movie, but it is so long, it's difficult to sustain interest, or that it is too mentally tiring to watch.

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Perhaps because your statement seems to be self-contradictory.  It's difficult to understand how you can love a movie that you find unwatchable.  Maybe a clearer way to say it is that you like the movie, but it is so long, it's difficult to sustain interest, or that it is too mentally tiring to watch.

 

Yes I understand, I'm sorry. Is there a way to get Fox to do this or at least tell them the idea?

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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056937/?ref_=ttalt_alt_tt

 

According to imdb, there are multiple versions available with a variety of running times.  It appears that at one time, there was a three-hour version released.  The official cut I think is a little over four hours long--which I think is the one that TCM shows.  After all, most people want to see their films un-cut, which is part of TCM's mission statement.To ask a studio (or a channel) to re-edit a film to make it shorter, to me, seems like it would go against the desires of most audience members.

 

However, if you prefer to watch an abridged version of Cleopatra, it appears that there is a three-hour one available.  You'll just have to do some research to see if the shorter version is available for purchase.  

 

 

 

 

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Yes I understand, I'm sorry. Is there a way to get Fox to do this or at least tell them the idea?

 

Theoretically, Fox could have an editor go in and chop an hour or so out it, but would that make the film any better or would it make it worse? That's subjective and different people would see it in different ways. The real question is why would Fox bother?.

 

After all these decades, is there some great demand for shortened version?  Somehow I doubt it.

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Your best bet would be a so-called "fan edit", done privately and then posted on one of the video sharing websites. I'm not sure of all of the different sites, but you may wish to search the movie title on those and see what comes up. Also check the IMDb page for Cleopatra, and read through the comments section at the bottom to see if something like this is mentioned.

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I am sorry, but I don't think it's possible to edit that movie further without destroying what little sense it makes now. It is actually edited to be two movies already, and they decided at the last minute to combine them and release it all together. If anything they need to put back in more of the plot and lengthen it, but I think they have destroyed the cut footage they had to do this. So the movie today stands as a chopped up mess, although i do personally like to watch it myself.

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http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056937/?ref_=ttalt_alt_tt

 

According to imdb, there are multiple versions available with a variety of running times.  It appears that at one time, there was a three-hour version released.  The official cut I think is a little over four hours long--which I think is the one that TCM shows.  After all, most people want to see their films un-cut, which is part of TCM's mission statement.To ask a studio (or a channel) to re-edit a film to make it shorter, to me, seems like it would go against the desires of most audience members.

 

However, if you prefer to watch an abridged version of Cleopatra, it appears that there is a three-hour one available.  You'll just have to do some research to see if the shorter version is available for purchase.  

 

Unfortunately, the 3 hour and 12 minutes version, which is the theatrical version, has never been released anywhere. I also wouldn't want this version because it eliminates an important Cleopatra scene.

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Theoretically, Fox could have an editor go in and chop an hour or so out it, but would that make the film any better or would it make it worse? That's subjective and different people would see it in different ways. The real question is why would Fox bother?.

 

After all these decades, is there some great demand for shortened version?  Somehow I doubt it.

 

Apparently I am the only person in the world to want it, but keep in mind that, if Cleopatra is forgotten it is precisely for its running time. A shorter cut could definitely allow the studio to keep making money off the film I assume, at the very least, it could be show on tv, which I haven't seen for years.

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I am sorry, but I don't think it's possible to edit that movie further without destroying what little sense it makes now. It is actually edited to be two movies already, and they decided at the last minute to combine them and release it all together. If anything they need to put back in more of the plot and lengthen it, but I think they have destroyed the cut footage they had to do this. So the movie today stands as a chopped up mess, although i do personally like to watch it myself.

 

Why do you say it makes little sense? I like Cleopatra's story, I have read a lot about her and all her life is on the film. Not only that but there is not one plothole in it, everything is pretty much wrapped up. And I think it could be edited out further, the Caesar epilepsy subplot is just not relevant to a movie about Cleopatra, that can be edited out. The battle scene outside of the palace can be edited out too.

 

I am currently reading the restored Cleopatra script, which you can access here: http://elizabethtaylorthelegend.com/Elizabeth%20Taylor%20-%20Restored%20Cleopatra%20page%2011.html

 

and to be honest, all those scenes have no place in the movie. Mankiewicz was insane for even having shot them.

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I enjoy long movies if they are good and/or entertaining. Running time only matters to me if something has been cut out. I'm one of those who prefers uncut. If its good enough, I get engrossed in the story and forget all about time anyways.

 

I like Cleopatra. As a matter of fact, its one of the movies I suggest to friends who have interest in classic films.

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I enjoy long movies if they are good and/or entertaining. Running time only matters to me if something has been cut out. I'm one of those who prefers uncut. If its good enough, I get engrossed in the story and forget all about time anyways.

 

I like Cleopatra. As a matter of fact, its one of the movies I suggest to friends who have interest in classic films.

 

Do you forget about time when you see Cleopatra?

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Do you forget about time when you see Cleopatra?

 

Sure do. I like Roman history, Egyptian history, Military films and Liz Taylor. This has all of that. And I like the grandeur of classic epic films. No CGI back then.

 

I make time when I have nothing planned and sit down with my snacks and sit through the whole thing. Great way to spend the day when weather is not so good.

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As has already been said, the original directors edit was originally intended to be (two) 3 hour long movies, one centering on Cleo's early relationship with Caesar, and the second with her final relationship with Antony.... Mankiewicz was way ahead of his time, and should have been allowed to make the second film a sequel to the first film. Presented as a whole, 6 hours was prohibitive for most theater engagements (i.e. check out Abel Gances 1927 silent epic Napoleon which ran 9 hrs and 22 min, and was screened in three parts over three days). 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napol%C3%A9on_%281927_film%29

 

So Joseph Mankiewicz edited the film down to four hours for its premier, and then (to allow more daily showings and enhance profitability, or, in this case, to hopefully recoup their huge investment) the studio demanded a further cut down to around 3 hrs.

Each edit took away from the original film, detracted from character development, and lost more and more continuity.

That, is what ruined the film!

 

As others have said, most of us (who post here anyway) prefer the directors cut over later studio edits. If a film is too long for a single sitting, watch it in two, or three, or however many is necessary. With DVD(s) in hand, you control the when, where, and how long.

Though it has happened, I rarely read an entire book in a single day, and even when I do, I take breaks.

 

Today, most viewers are used watching a sequel, or sequels. i.e. Richard Lesters The Three Musketeers (1973) and The Four Musketeers (1974); Jaws (I, II, III,....); Jurassic Park (I, II, III,....); etc. etc. The TV mini series gradually became popular in the 1970's and people grew used to watching a segment a night over several days. Today we will watch an ongoing series, an episode a week, season after season, year after year.

 

Cleopatra (1963) isn't going away, any time soon... it is a classic. It's available on DVD in all of its glory, And it is shown on TV (on TCM as uncut a version as is available).

Many of us record it so we can watch at our leisure.

Aside from a special roadshow event, the movie is not going to be seen on the big-screen as a rerelease.

And if anything, the search is on to increase its viewing time to as close to the original version as recovered footage will allow.

That is what most of us want, to see the whole film again! Not a further abridged version of it.

 

If none of the above appeals to you personally, then record the film the next time TCM airs it, and then edit down your own personal version. Do it just as you like. Cut out whatever you think is unnecessary, "redirect" the film and then watch your finished product to your hearts content. Or, as has been suggested, find someone to do it for you, but make sure they cut it exactly the way you want, or you will never be satisfied with someone elses edit.

 

Or you could just acquire a commercial copy of the 4 hour version and watch it in two different sittings. My version is on two DVDs and has an intermission!

 

"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. As a result, certain details are left out of the film, such as Rufio's death and the recurring theme of Cleopatra's interaction with the gods of Egypt.[8] Mankiewicz unsuccessfully attempted to convince the studio to split the film in two in order to preserve the original cut. These were to be released separately as Caesar and Cleopatra followed by Antony and Cleopatra. The studio wanted to capitalize on the publicity of the intense press coverage the Taylor-Burton romance was generating, and felt that pushing Antony and Cleopatra to a later release date was too risky. The film has been released to home video formats in its 248-minute premiere version, and efforts are under way to locate the missing footage (some of which has been recovered)."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleopatra_%281963_film%29

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As has already been said, the original directors edit was originally intended to be (two) 3 hour long movies, one centering on Cleo's early relationship with Caesar, and the second with her final relationship with Antony.... Mankiewicz was way ahead of his time, and should have been allowed to make the second film a sequel to the first film. Presented as a whole, 6 hours was prohibitive for most theater engagements (i.e. check out Abel Gances 1927 silent epic Napoleon which ran 9 hrs and 22 min, and was screened in three parts over three days).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoléon_(1927_film)

 

So Joseph Mankiewicz edited the film down to four hours for its premier, and then (to allow more daily showings and enhance profitability, or, in this case, to hopefully recoup their huge investment) the studio demanded a further cut down to around 3 hrs.

Each edit took away from the original film, detracted from character development, and lost more and more continuity.

That, is what ruined the film!

 

As others have said, most of us (who post here anyway) prefer the directors cut over later studio edits. If a film is too long for a single sitting, watch it in two, or three, or however many is necessary. With DVD(s) in hand, you control the when, where, and how long.

Though it has happened, I rarely read an entire book in a single day, and even when I do, I take breaks.

 

Today, most viewers are used watching a sequel, or sequels. i.e. Richard Lesters The Three Musketeers (1973) and The Four Musketeers (1974); Jaws (I, II, III,....); Jurassic Park (I, II, III,....); etc. etc. The TV mini series gradually became popular in the 1970's and people grew used to watching a segment a night over several days. Today we will watch an ongoing series, an episode a week, season after season, year after year.

 

Cleopatra (1963) isn't going away, any time soon... it is a classic. It's available on DVD in all of its glory, And it is shown on TV (on TCM as uncut a version as is available).

Many of us record it so we can watch at our leisure.

Aside from a special roadshow event, the movie is not going to be seen on the big-screen as a rerelease.

And if anything, the search is on to increase its viewing time to as close to the original version as recovered footage will allow.

That is what most of us want, to see the whole film again! Not a further abridged version of it.

 

If none of the above appeals to you personally, then record the film the next time TCM airs it, and then edit down your own personal version. Do it just as you like. Cut out whatever you think is unnecessary, "redirect" the film and then watch your finished product to your hearts content. Or, as has been suggested, find someone to do it for you, but make sure they cut it exactly the way you want, or you will never be satisfied with someone elses edit.

 

Or you could just acquire a commercial copy of the 4 hour version and watch it in two different sittings. My version is on two DVDs and has an intermission!

 

"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. As a result, certain details are left out of the film, such as Rufio's death and the recurring theme of Cleopatra's interaction with the gods of Egypt.[8] Mankiewicz unsuccessfully attempted to convince the studio to split the film in two in order to preserve the original cut. These were to be released separately as Caesar and Cleopatra followed by Antony and Cleopatra. The studio wanted to capitalize on the publicity of the intense press coverage the Taylor-Burton romance was generating, and felt that pushing Antony and Cleopatra to a later release date was too risky. The film has been released to home video formats in its 248-minute premiere version, and efforts are under way to locate the missing footage (some of which has been recovered)."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleopatra_(1963_film)

Yes, Fox has been trying to find and restore the approximately two hours cut from the 6 hours originally assembled. The fact that the shorter, 3 hour edit is not available commercially confirms they are not interested in getting out a shorter version, but trying to make amends by assembling the original running length. And rightly so, imho, and in other classic film fans'.
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I am sorry, but I don't think it's possible to edit that movie further without destroying what little sense it makes now. It is actually edited to be two movies already, and they decided at the last minute to combine them and release it all together. If anything they need to put back in more of the plot and lengthen it, but I think they have destroyed the cut footage they had to do this. So the movie today stands as a chopped up mess, although i do personally like to watch it myself.

 

I agree with you.   The best option for the OP is to view the film as two films at two different times.   

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As has already been said, the original directors edit was originally intended to be (two) 3 hour long movies, one centering on Cleo's early relationship with Caesar, and the second with her final relationship with Antony.... Mankiewicz was way ahead of his time, and should have been allowed to make the second film a sequel to the first film. Presented as a whole, 6 hours was prohibitive for most theater engagements (i.e. check out Abel Gances 1927 silent epic Napoleon which ran 9 hrs and 22 min, and was screened in three parts over three days). 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napol%C3%A9on_%281927_film%29

 

So Joseph Mankiewicz edited the film down to four hours for its premier, and then (to allow more daily showings and enhance profitability, or, in this case, to hopefully recoup their huge investment) the studio demanded a further cut down to around 3 hrs.

Each edit took away from the original film, detracted from character development, and lost more and more continuity.

That, is what ruined the film!

 

As others have said, most of us (who post here anyway) prefer the directors cut over later studio edits. If a film is too long for a single sitting, watch it in two, or three, or however many is necessary. With DVD(s) in hand, you control the when, where, and how long.

Though it has happened, I rarely read an entire book in a single day, and even when I do, I take breaks.

 

Today, most viewers are used watching a sequel, or sequels. i.e. Richard Lesters The Three Musketeers (1973) and The Four Musketeers (1974); Jaws (I, II, III,....); Jurassic Park (I, II, III,....); etc. etc. The TV mini series gradually became popular in the 1970's and people grew used to watching a segment a night over several days. Today we will watch an ongoing series, an episode a week, season after season, year after year.

 

Cleopatra (1963) isn't going away, any time soon... it is a classic. It's available on DVD in all of its glory, And it is shown on TV (on TCM as uncut a version as is available).

Many of us record it so we can watch at our leisure.

Aside from a special roadshow event, the movie is not going to be seen on the big-screen as a rerelease.

And if anything, the search is on to increase its viewing time to as close to the original version as recovered footage will allow.

That is what most of us want, to see the whole film again! Not a further abridged version of it.

 

If none of the above appeals to you personally, then record the film the next time TCM airs it, and then edit down your own personal version. Do it just as you like. Cut out whatever you think is unnecessary, "redirect" the film and then watch your finished product to your hearts content. Or, as has been suggested, find someone to do it for you, but make sure they cut it exactly the way you want, or you will never be satisfied with someone elses edit.

 

Or you could just acquire a commercial copy of the 4 hour version and watch it in two different sittings. My version is on two DVDs and has an intermission!

 

"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. As a result, certain details are left out of the film, such as Rufio's death and the recurring theme of Cleopatra's interaction with the gods of Egypt.[8] Mankiewicz unsuccessfully attempted to convince the studio to split the film in two in order to preserve the original cut. These were to be released separately as Caesar and Cleopatra followed by Antony and Cleopatra. The studio wanted to capitalize on the publicity of the intense press coverage the Taylor-Burton romance was generating, and felt that pushing Antony and Cleopatra to a later release date was too risky. The film has been released to home video formats in its 248-minute premiere version, and efforts are under way to locate the missing footage (some of which has been recovered)."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleopatra_%281963_film%29

 

Well, part of my desire for a new cut is for other people to see it also, people do not want to know about Cleopatra and that is sad. I don't think Mankiewicz was ahead of his time, on the contrary, his idea was insanity itself and probably the result of 24/7 drug addiction of speed shots while he was shooting Cleopatra. The studio made the right decision.

 

Also I must say that to me at least, the movie doesn't have any inconsistencies. Also, film is meant to be viewed in one sitting. It's not a play, it's not a miniseries.

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Somebody just said on TCM that the movie is pure chloroform. And that is the thing, it is NOT pure chloroform, there is a great movie trapped in it and it is not fair that it has this horrible reputation thanks to Joseph L. Mankiewicz' insanity and terrible soporific direction.

 

1. I love you.

 

2. The really INTRIGUING thing about CLEOPATRA to me is why Mankiewicz was brought in in the first place...I believe he was stepping in as director for someone who had quit either or been fired or just lost their minds from dealing with the six-ring-circus for 100 days, but i digress.... but i wonder if he was brought in as a way to "punish" Liz or make her finish the picture. I have read various accounts that both Hepburn and Taylor did not care for the way Mankiewicz bullied a fragile Montgomery Clift on the set of the equally turgid, but thankfully shorter and more bizarre SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER- which she made under his direction threeish years earlier.

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1. I love you.

 

2. The really INTRIGUING thing about CLEOPATRA to me is why Mankiewicz was brought in in the first place...I believe he was stepping in as director for someone who had quit either or been fired or just lost their minds from dealing with the six-ring-circus for 100 days, but i digress.... but i wonder if he was brought in as a way to "punish" Liz or make her finish the picture. I have read various accounts that both Hepburn and Taylor did not care for the way Mankiewicz bullied a fragile Montgomery Clift on the set of the equally turgid, but thankfully shorter and more bizarre SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER- which she made under his direction threeish years earlier.

 

Rouben Mamoulian who directed the Peter Finch version before she got sick......

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