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Film / Caesar and Cleopatra

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Caesar and Cleopatra is a 1945 British Technicolor Sword & Sandal film directed by Gabriel Pascal and starring Claude Rains as Julius Caesar, Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra VII and Stewart Granger as Apollodorus the Sicilian. Some scenes were directed by Brian Desmond Hurst, who remained uncredited. It is an adaptation of the play Caesar and Cleopatra by George Bernard Shaw, who collaborated closely with the production.

Julius Caesar takes possession of the Egyptian capital city of Alexandria, and tries to resolve a feud between young Princess Cleopatra and her younger brother, Ptolemy XIII. During the resulting sometimes-murderous court intrigues, Caesar develops a special relationship with Cleopatra, and teaches her how to use her royal power.


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Caesar and Cleopatra provides examples of:

  • Actually, I Am Him: At the beginning, Cleopatra meets Caesar at the Sphinx, and Caesar doesn't tell her who he is. He reveals himself to her in the next scene, much to her own (delighted) surprise.
  • Ascended Extra: Apollodorus has a bigger role there than he had in Real Life. His real life counterpart is just known for smuggling the rolled up carpet in which Cleopatra was hiding into Alexandria, whereas the movie character sticks around for much of the remainder of the film after that.
  • Carpet-Rolled Corpse: Non-dead version. Cleopatra is smuggled into Alexandria rolled into a carpet, as she was in Real Life according to Plutarch, and like most depictions.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: King Ptolemy is a child. He died at age 14 in Real Life.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Apollodorus is a very good fighter and doesn't hesitate to use kicks and punches when his gladius-wielding adversaries expect it the least.
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  • Cool Crown: Cleopatra's royal headgears are quite elaborate.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Cleopatra is prone to the occasional snark.
    [after putting Caesar's helmet on his head] Oh, nice! You look only about fifty in it!
  • The Ghost: Mark Antony is mentioned quite a few times, but doesn't appear.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Apollodorus. The movie surely makes some good use of Stewart Granger's good looks. The outfit he wears at the end of the film even borders on short shorts.
  • Prematurely Bald: Caesar, much to Cleopatra's amusement.
  • The Queen's Latin: A prime example of this, with accents and britishisms all over the place. It was adapted straight from a George Bernard Shaw play, after all.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Caesar gives one to Cleopatra as she begs him on his knees to defend her against the angry mob trying to storm her palace.
  • The Unpronounceable: Ftatateeta, although pretty much everyone manages to pronounce her name actually. Shaw invoked the trope in the original play, in which she is the only one who can pronounce it right.

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