Cleopatra

Los Angeles: Twentieth Century Fox, 1961. Archive of three original draft scripts and one a post-production script, for the 1963 film. Also included is a vintage 8 x 10 black-and-white single white still photograph of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra.

Twentieth Century-Fox's ambitious, bank-breaking venture, based on the histories written by Plutarch, Suetonius, and Appian, and also based on the Carlo Maria Franzero book, set in 48 BC in Egypt. Cleopatra (Taylor), Queen of Egypt, falls hopelessly in love with rival-turned-ally, Julius Caesar (Harrison). When Caesar meets his fate at the hands of his political cabinet, the queen joins forces with the brazen drunkard, Marc Antony (Burton) to conquer Rome.

The film set the studios back roughly thirty million dollars, the most for any film production to date. At the start, Rouben Mamoulian was signed on as director, and after finding the project too profound, coupled with no legitimate screenplay yet written, he resigned early in 1961. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who had just directed Elizabeth Taylor and Katherine Hepburn in the 1959 film, "Suddenly, Last Summer," was hired to take Mamoulian's place, directing the film to completion, but he would eventually denounce his association with the film. Alfred Hitchcock was approached before Mankiewicz, but production for the rotund auteur's 1963 film, "The Birds," was already taking flight. In the end, the film ran for nearly six hours, originally intended as two separate pictures, each three hours long. TCF decided against this, editing the entire cut to four hours. These cuts, actress Elizabeth Taylor jested, were the fatal flaws of a film more feasible in theory than execution.

Taylor and Burton's first on-screen pairing, their love-hate relationship already culminating, and their characters' relationship foreshadowing their real-life romance.

Set in Egypt, shot on location in Spain, Italy, England, and the USA. Winner of several Academy Awards (Best Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Effects).

Included in the archive:

Three First Draft scripts, dated 2/10/61, 4/5/61, and 5/9/61, the first two being just over 60 pages each, with a credit for screenwriter Buchman (scripts likely not utilized by director Mankiewicz, who tended to script as he shot), and the third script with a credit for screenwriter MacDougall, weighing in at over 300 pages, likely the the last incarnation of the story as a script and the one used during production.

Annotated post-production script detailing cuts for release of the film in Italy and for international release, noting Reels 1 through 15, and covering only the first half of the film. The script ends with INTERMISSION.

Impressive in its scope and one of the most visually stunning films ever, "Cleopatra" was for years a large and beautiful thorn in the side of Twentieth Century-Fox, and original ephemera for the film is scarce. These are the only scripts for the film we have handled, representing a look at the small but vital role a script has in a visually, fiscally, and physically immense production.

Collation details available upon request.


[Book #137068]

Price: $3,500.00