Vivien Leigh, Caesar and Cleopatra
One of my absolute favorite people to read about is Cleopatra. I’ve always been enthralled with her. While Hollywood has never quite gotten it right when telling her story (or in casting her, for that matter), the movies are almost always entertaining and fun.
I say almost because one in particular misses the mark more than the others. The 1945 film Caesar and Cleopatra lacks heart and personality in my opinion. Even its wonderful stars often seem to simply be going through the MOTIONS… without any eMOTIONs. I can’t think of a single film its extraordinary leads Vivien Leigh and Claude Rains showed such a lack of feeling for what was at hand.
Is that the fault of the director? Were they miscast in these roles? Were they simply portraying their characters as cold and somewhat lifeless?
I have no idea but it leaves me gobsmacked because these are two of old Hollywood’s greatest!
I remember when I first sat down to watch this one. I had recorded it on TCM and carved out time that evening to watch it. I got my snacks and iced raspberry tea and joined my cats in the den. We were all very excited and expected something truly epic and dynamic.
It honestly took a mere 10 minutes to realize we would have been just as well off watching one another.
Don’t get me wrong, I try to watch the complete filmography of all my favorites, so I needed to see this one on account of both Vivien Leigh and Claude Rains… and the costumes (and Vivien, herself) were positively stunning.
But that’s it. Truth be told, I don’t think Vivien and Claude could have had less chemistry if you’d paid them to! Trust me… I adore them and it pains me to say it but, geesh, they lulled me to sleep with this one.
If you, too, need this film for a “filmography collection” OR for a nap!… you can find Caesar and Cleopatra on dvd (Amazon link).
Vivien Leigh and Claude Rains, Caesar and Cleopatra