Caesar and Cleopatra

Director: Gabriel Pascal
Year Released: 1945
Rating: 2.0

Julius Caesar (Claude Rains) takes a trip to Egypt to visit Cleopatra (Vivien Leigh) and instructs her on how to be a stern but fair ruler ... and also to settle a scuffle between Cleopatra and her little brother/husband/whatever-that-was-about Ptolemy (Anthony Harvey, who would go on to become a filmmaker). Pascal, not exactly an accomplished director, doesn't seem to know how to shape a scene or somehow pry this from its theatrical roots, leaving it to be a dry, over-staged play, and the intellectual aspects of Shaw's text seem lost in the large, mostly vacant, pristine sets and high production costs (though admittedly, this isn't one of Shaw's best works). I didn't have much of a problem with the performances, though Shaw, at the time, was apparently displeased by Leigh's Pouty Little Girl routine - I, at least, found it to be nice contrast to Caesar's grinning, wizened old man.