GenreBiography, Comedy, Drama ScreenplayGeorge Bernard Shaw CountryUnited Kingdom
Release date1945 (UK)
1948 (France) WriterGeorge Bernard Shaw (play), George Bernard Shaw (screenplay) CastClaude Rains (Julius Caesar), Vivien Leigh (Cleopatra), Stewart Granger (Apollodorus), Flora Robson (Ftatateeta), Francis L. Sullivan (Pothinus), Basil Sydney (Rufio) Similar moviesJ. Edgar, Cleopatra, Malcolm X, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, The Wolf of Wall Street, Nixon
TaglineThe most lavish picture ever on the screen!
Caesar and cleopatra trailer 1945
Caesar and Cleopatra is a 1945 British Technicolor film directed by Gabriel Pascal and starring Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh. It was adapted from the play Caesar and Cleopatra (1901) by George Bernard Shaw. The film was produced by Independent Producers and Pascal Film Productions, and was distributed by Eagle-Lion Distributors. St6aff (30 October 1946)
Caesar and Cleopatra was a box office failure, but it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for John Bryan.
In this philosophical coming-of-age film, an aging 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. During the resulting sometimes-murderous court intrigues, Caesar develops a special relationship with Cleopatra, and teaches her how to use her royal power.
Claude Rains as Julius Caesar, Roman conqueror of Egypt
Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra, young queen of Egypt
Stewart Granger as Apollodorus, a patrician amateur of the arts
Flora Robson as Ftatateeta, Cleopatra's nurse, who murders her enemies on command
Francis L. Sullivan as Pothinus, Egyptian courtier, tutor and guardian of Cleopatra's brother Ptolemy XIII
Basil Sydney as Rufio, Roman general
Cecil Parker as Britannus, Brittanic slave to Caesar
Stanley Holloway as Belzanor
Raymond Lovell as Lucius Septimus, Roman occupier of Egypt
Ernest Thesiger as Theodotus, Greek savant
Anthony Harvey as Ptolemy, child king of Egypt
Leo Genn as bearer of evil tidings
Jean Simmons as harpist
Michael Rennie as quayside centurion
Ronald Shiner as second porter
Roger Moore as Extra (uncredited)
Filmed in Technicolor with lavish sets, the production was reported to be the most expensive film ever made in Britain at the time, costing £1,278,000.
Pascal ordered sand from Egypt to get the right cinematic color. The production also ran into delays due to being filmed during the Second World War. During the shoot, Vivien Leigh tripped and miscarried.
The film was described as a "box office stinker" at the time, and almost ended Pascal's career. It was the first Shaw film made in colour, and the last film version of a Shaw play during his lifetime. After Shaw's death in 1950, Pascal went on to produce one more Shaw-derived film, Androcles and the Lion in 1952.
According to trade papers, the film was a "notable box office attraction" at British cinemas.
The film earned $1,363,371 in the United States, making it one of the most popular British films ever released there. It did however fall short of initial expectations. Variety estimated that Rank lost $3 million on the film.