Caesar and Cleopatra (film)

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Caesar and Cleopatra
Caesar and Cleopatra - 1945 - poster.png
theatrical release poster
Directed by Gabriel Pascal
Produced by Gabriel Pascal
Written by George Bernard Shaw (play (uncredited), screenplay (uncredited), dialogue, scenario)
Starring Claude Rains
Vivien Leigh
Music by Georges Auric
Cinematography Jack Cardiff
Jack Hildyard
Robert Krasker
Freddie Young
Edited by Frederick Wilson
Joan Warwick (uncredited)
Distributed by Eagle-Lion Films (UK)
United Artists (US)
Release date
11 December 1945 (London)
6 September 1946 {US}
16 September 1946 (UK)
Running time
128 minutes (UK)
123 minutes (US)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $5.2 million[1] or £1.3 million[2][3]
Box office $2,250,000 (US rentals)[4]
815,007 admissions (France)[5]
$1.4 million (UK)[3]

Caesar and Cleopatra is a 1945 British Technicolor film directed by Gabriel Pascal and starring Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh.[6] Some scenes were directed by Brian Desmond Hurst who took no formal credit. 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.[7]


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.


Other uncredited cast members (alphabetically)


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.[8]

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.[9] During the shoot, Vivien Leigh tripped and miscarried.[1]

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.[10]

The film earned $1,363,371 in the United States, making it one of the most popular British films ever released there.[11] It did however fall short of initial expectations. Variety estimated that Rank lost $3 million on the film.[3]

See also



  1. ^ a b Steinberg, Jay S. "Caesar and Cleopatra" (article)
  2. ^ "The London Letter: Loan Vote Prospects" The Scotsman [Edinburgh, Scotland] 13 Dec 1945: 4.
  3. ^ a b c Staff (30 October 1946) "'Cleo' $3,000,000 in the red", Variety (magazine)|Variety, p.3
  4. ^ Staff (8 January 1947) "60 Top Grossers of 1946" Variety (maagazine)|Variety p,8
  5. ^ Box office information for Stewart Granger films in France at Box Office Story
  6. ^
  7. ^ "946 (19th) Art Direction (Color) Caesar and Cleopatra John Bryan"[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Noteworthy Films Made In U.K." The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 17 January 1953. p. 27. Retrieved 4 August 2012. 
  9. ^ "Caesar and Cleopatra" (1945) home video review,
  10. ^ Murphy, Robert (2003) Realism and Tinsel: Cinema and Society in Britain 1939-48 p.209
  11. ^ Street, Sarah (2002) Transatlantic Crossings: British Feature Films in the USA, Continuum, p.94


  • Vermilye, Jerry. (1978) The Great British Films, Citadel Press, pp. 97–101. ISBN 0-8065-0661-X

External links

  • Caesar and Cleopatra in the British Film Institute's "Explore film..." database
  • Caesar and Cleopatra on IMDb
  • Caesar and Cleopatra at the TCM Movie Database
  • Caesar and Cleopatra at AllMovie
  • Movie Production Stills 1
  • Movie Production Stills 2
  • Trailer for Caesar and Cleopatra (Video)
  • Gabriel Pascal directs Shaw's 'Caesar and Cleopatra' 1945 on YouTube (Newsreel)
  • Film Facts
  • Pascal with Jean Simmons at premiere 13 December 1945
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