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



Anzac Cup kicks off the new season for soccer

READY TO GO: Greg McMahon of Tursa and Richmond Rovers coach Todd Jones with the Anzac Cup men's premier trophy this week. The competition will kick off tonight.

THE Anzac Cup soccer competition is in it's 68th year

Senator urges residents to fight for more govt jobs

Northern Star Photographer Jay Cronan flys from Lismore to Lennox, then to head south along the coast in the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter to take aerial photographs of the Northern Rivers. Richmond River, Ballina Bar Emigrant Creek Pacific High way Teven Interchange. Photo Jay Cronan / The Northern Star

Richmond electorate can lobby for relocation of Commonwealth agency

Police block business for on-line drug supplier

Drugs that were to be sold online.

Man arrested after investigations into internet drug business

Local Partners

Orientation gets an A from Sydney students

AFTER just four days of living in Lismore, mates Flynn Colby and Ryan Jones are having the time of their young lives.


Anzac Cup kicks off the new season for soccer

READY TO GO: Greg McMahon of Tursa and Richmond Rovers coach Todd Jones with the Anzac Cup men's premier trophy this week. The competition will kick off tonight.

THE Anzac Cup soccer competition is in it's 68th year

Netball champion to have breakfast in Lismore

Liz Ellis will be in Lismore for a breakfast event.

Business owners are invited tobreakfast event with Liz Ellis

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Reality TV show gives Maryborough a boost

Maryborough's "quaint" look separates it from other tourism destinations.

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

LOVERS: Grant and Chris have been together for more than three years, and Chris' parents refuse to acknowledge their son's fiance.

Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Hodges proud to be part of first channel dedicated to NRL

Justin Hodges is gearing up for his new gig on Fox League.

Footy star hopes to provide a voice for players on new NRL channel

Selling Houses renovate for Salvos in 100th episode

Charlie Albone, Andrew Winter and Shaynna Blaze return for season 10 of Selling Houses Australia. Supplied by Foxtel.

Selling Houses launch 10th season in volatile property market

NORPA founder brings us Opera Australia

FOR KIDS: James Payne as Troll and Ruth Strutt as Ferdinand in El Kid, Opera Australia's production for primary schools.

El Kid comes to Albert Park Public School

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!