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YMMV / Cleopatra

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  • Award Snub: Roddy McDowall was originally nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but the studio erroneously listed him as a leading player rather than a supporting one. When Fox asked the Academy to correct the error, it refused, saying the ballots already were at the printer. Fox then published an open letter in the trade papers, apologizing to McDowall: "We feel that it is important that the industry realize that your electric performance as Octavian in Cleopatra, which was unanimously singled out by the critics as one of the best supporting performances by an actor this year, is not eligible for an Academy Award nomination in that category . . . due to a regrettable error on the part of 20th Century-Fox.".
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  • Money-Making Shot: Quite a few, the most prominent being Cleopatra's big show off arrival in Rome and the naval battle.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Octavian crosses this line when he has the title character's young son Caesarion murdered to secure his claim to the throne of Rome. This was a significant departure from history done to make Octavian seem eviler; the Real Life Caesarion was in his late teens at the time of his death (well into adulthood by the standards of the day) rather than the ten or twelve the film portrays him, and was killed after his mother's suicide, meaning the Tear Jerker scene where she realizes he is dead did not happen in reality, nor could it have.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Casca, one of Caesar's assassins, is played by Carroll O'Connor, famous for his role as Archie Bunker.
    • UK sitcom fans may be similarly called to retroactive recognition by Richard O'Sullivan as the Pharoah Ptolemy, Cleopatra's ill fated sibling. A decade later he would rise to fame as star of Man About the House.
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  • So Okay, It's Average: Has a lot of impeccable decor designs, costume designs, and acting talent poured into it, but the Troubled Production clearly shows in the final product. It won several Oscars in technical categories and was nominated for several others, but critical reception and audience reception was mostly lukewarm. The movie is still widely remembered and frequently seen owing to its scale, scope and polish, and it still has many defenders mostly because there's no way a movie would be made the same way today.


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