CLEOPATRA (1934)
1934, Paramount (Universal), 100 min, USA, Dir: Cecil B. DeMille

Mogul and architect of epics Cecil B. DeMille weaves a historical tapestry poised somewhere between high camp and outlandish spectacle, directing the scintillating Claudette Colbert in her youthful prime as the wily Egyptian queen. A naughty pre-Code product, the film boasts an array of scandalous costumes. With Warren William as Julius Caesar and Henry Wilcoxon as Marc Antony.


BATTLE OF THE BULGE
1965, Warner Bros., 167 min, USA, Dir: Ken Annakin

In November 1944, the German army surprised the Allies with a last-ditch offensive on the western front, near the Ardennes forest. This entertaining (if fictionalized) look at the pivotal conflict features an all-star cast including Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews, Charles Bronson and Telly Savalas (a Golden Globe nominee), as well as some superbly executed action sequences.


RICHARD II (2012)
2012, BBC, 140 min, UK, Dir: Rupert Goold

Produced for the BBC as part of its series of Shakespeare’s history plays dubbed “The Hollow Crown,” this engrossing drama stars Ben Whishaw in a BAFTA Award-winning turn as the 14th century British monarch, whose reign ended at the hands of Henry Bolingbroke (Rory Kinnear) - who then became King Henry IV. Patrick Stewart costars as Henry’s father, John of Gaunt.


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