Entertainment

Cleopatra restoration vindicates traumatised director

Byron Bay woman Alex Mankiewicz has just returned from the Cannes Film Festival where she viewed the restored four-hour version of the 1963 film Cleopatra, written and directed by her father, Joseph L. Mankiewicz (pictured).
Byron Bay woman Alex Mankiewicz has just returned from the Cannes Film Festival where she viewed the restored four-hour version of the 1963 film Cleopatra, written and directed by her father, Joseph L. Mankiewicz (pictured). Isobel Rodgers

WHEN Alex Mankiewicz was growing up, the most expensive epic Twentieth Century Fox had ever produced - the 1963 film, Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton - was never talked about.

That's despite her father having been the writer and director of the celebrated movie.

"Cleopatra was like Voldemort - He Who Shall Not be Named," Ms Mankiewicz, of Byron Bay said. "It was a huge part of my dad's story and it nearly destroyed him."

The making of the epic film had traumatised her father, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, she said, both during filming amid the scandalous affair of its stars, Burton and Taylor, and later when film executives cut the original length of six hours, to four, to eventually just over three.

Cleopatra was like Voldemort - He Who Shall Not be Named

 

However, on its 50th anniversary last week, the film was lauded at the Cannes Film Festival where the restored four-hour version was screened as part of the Cannes Classics to an audience that included Richard Burton's daughter Kate Burton, and Chris Wilding, Elizabeth Taylor's son, along with Ms Mankiewicz and her mother, Rosemary Mankiewicz, 83.

The film was already $5 million in debt and had been shooting for six months in London before Joseph L. Mankiewicz was asked to take over from Rouben Mamoulian and start filming in Rome from scratch.

"There really was no script so dad was writing at night and filming during the day," Ms Mankiewicz, who returned from Cannes on Monday, said.

"This was in a time before CGI (computer generated images) so he was managing a cast of 2300 extras.

"In the middle of it all there was the Burton and Taylor scandal and all the paparazzi.

"At one stage the Vatican stepped in and threatened the whole production.

"It was an extremely exhausting undertaking and the scandal threatened to overshadow the beauty and the intimacy of the film and the brilliance of the actors.

"Dad originally wanted it to be two films, but he was ahead of his time with that idea.

"The film's restoration is so beautiful. Dad would have been so pleased to see it screened in its original length.

"He would have felt vindicated," Ms Mankiewicz.

Topics:  editors picks film



Strange Politics: Follow Pauline on high and low roads

No need to choose - Pauline takes the high and low roads.

Enter Pauline Hanson - the political phoenix

Behind-the-scenes on the Northern Rivers

Olivia Newton-John and Gregg Cave at Gaia Retreat & Spa. Photo Contributed

The latest goss from our region

PHOTO GALLERY: Lego Brick Event, Lismore City Hall

Shaun Patrick (centre) shows patrons the Minecraft Lego display at the Lismore City Hall on Saturday.

Did we snap you at the Lego display on Saturday?

Local Partners

High achievers honoured at Australia Day Awards

FIFTEEN new citizens to be welcomed and 27 exceptional citizens and groups honoured.


What's fresh at your local farmers' market

Chillies should be available at your local farmers' market. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Chillies, figs, finger limes, eggplants are ripe for the eating

'More sick people will be jailed': Confusion over medical cannabis

There is ongoing confusion about the legalities surrounding medical cannabis.

Is it legal? Where can you get it? What are your rights?

This week's Northern Rivers markets list

CASINO: McAuliffe Park in Hickey St is the venue for the new markets.

Check out the new Casino Riverside Markets this weekend

JK Rowling rules out Cursed Child trilogy

JK Rowling has ruled out a 'Cursed Child' movie trilogy

Buckley's chance in psychological thriller

James McAvoy and Betty Buckley in a scene from the movie Split.

Broadway veteran back on big screen with James McAvoy

Daniel MacPherson: acting’s a bit like channel surfing

Australian actor Daniel MacPherson in a scene from the American TV series APB.

THE Aussie export talks about making his mark in the US.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

Lisa Marie Woodham will be giving readings in Gladstone until Saturday January 21.

Shopping isn't fun if you can see dead people

What's fresh at your local farmers' market

Chillies should be available at your local farmers' market. PHOTO: KATE O'NEILL

Chillies, figs, finger limes, eggplants are ripe for the eating

Buderim man strips off for speed dating with a twist

RAW AMBITION: Buderim local Jackson pictured with his blind date Candice in a scene from SBS's new dating show Undressed.

People have done stranger things for love

Agents desperate for stock as homebuyers circle region

Coorabell houses had a whopping median sale price of $1.4 million.

Lower price ranges stand out as Coffs property best sellers

7 quirky Airbnb homes on the Northern Rivers

Broken Head Bodhi Treehouse

Stay in a shipping container or treehouse for your next holiday

Controversial Iron Gates development renamed

Raine and Horne

Peaceful, pristine and perfect is the new motto for Iron Gates

'That’s the nature of commercial reality': Lismore council

GAME CHANGER: The $13 million proposal by Quest proposal is for a three-storey complex featuring 41 serviced apartments, 53 on-site carparks, 24-hour on-site management, a gymnasium and modern guest facilities.

"It's a shame the development is no longer on the table"

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!