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1963, 20th Century Fox, 248 min, USA, Dir: Joseph Mankiewicz

Cleopatra (Elizabeth Taylor) attempts to secure her power as Queen of Egypt by charming Julius Caesar (Rex Harrison) and Mark Antony (Richard Burton) with whom she has a stormy love affair, but Egypt is finally integrated into the Roman Empire. Directed and co-written by Joseph Mankiewicz, this epic historical drama boasts spectacular sets and costumes that must be seen. Cleopatra's spectacular entry into Rome with her golden Sphinx pulled by thousands is a real cinematic moment!

1966, Warner Bros., 131 min, USA, Dir: Mike Nichols

Winner of five Oscars, including Elizabeth Taylor for Best Actress and Sandy Dennis for Best Supporting Actress, director Mike Nichols and screenwriter Ernest Lehman adapt Edward Albee’s scorching play about a bitter, middle-aged, alcoholic couple’s war of words. Taylor and real-life spouse Richard Burton play people chained to their own mediocrity in the halls of academia. When they invite unwitting new professor George Segal and his naïve wife (Dennis) over for cocktails, the sordid game of verbal invective and elaborate emotional contortions begins, not abating until similar buried resentments are unleashed in their seemingly normal houseguests.

1967, Sony Repertory, 122 min, USA, Italy, Dir: Franco Zeffirelli

Franco Zeffirelli's first feature as a director and initial foray into Shakespeare serves as a vehicle for Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, whose talents (and offscreen passion) are perfectly suited to the bard's tale of sexual rivalry. Nino Rota's superb score and Oswald Morris' lush cinematography add to the sense of sweeping romantic spectacle.

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