The production even RA trashes: Cleopatra 1999

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Handsome Man in Toga and Caesar Coif.

A sort of close up of Richard as Epiphanes with Rupert Graves (Octavius).

Before there was Guy and Richie, there was Epiphanes and a Horse with No Name.

That's a Guy-like look in Epiphanes' eyes.

Richard played Epiphanes in a Hallmark Entertainment made-for-TV production back in 1999. Even Richard has said this movie is bad. And knowing the kind and considerate fellow that RA is, you can pretty bet that means Cleopatra is a turkey
The titular role is played by Leonor Varela, an exotically beautiful young woman who wears a lot of diaphanous costumes which allow ample views of her physical charms. Unfortunately, there is very little acting talent on display, with a performance on par with some less gifted grade-schoolers I have encountered.

The dependable Timothy Dalton does the best he can with the role of Caesar and as Marc Antony, Billy Zane is–Billy Zane.
Rupert Graves is, for me anyway, unintentionally hilarious as Octavius. He is wearing a brunette Harpo Marx wig and walks around clutching his toga in a very self-important manner. It’s one of those roles I doubt Rupert puts on his C.V.

But what YOU really want to know is–what about RICHARD? Well, if you are looking for numerous opportunities to listen to that chocolate voice, you are out of luck. I think he has at most one or two audible lines in the whole film. Nor are there lots of close-ups.

Mostly, he is seen in his flattering toga and helmet astride a horse (the man has the legs for a toga, in case you haven’t noticed), or standing around in his toga (with and without his nifty helmet), popping up periodically and almost always in the background. But it seems a criminally long wait one has to endure to see him for the first time, requiring one to sit through a lot of stilted dialogue.

I can report he wears a Caesar haircut extremely well, and his smudgy bedroom eyes seem precursors to the era of Guyliner that will arrive seven years later.

Would I recommend adding Cleopatra to your RA DVD collection? Well, let me put it this way: unless, as I did, you can find it for a very, very cheap price somewhere–no.
Remember, even RA said it was rubbish. And you know RA . . .

About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

19 responses »

  1. Hey…you’ve finally gotten around to this one! Remember I told you I spotted the gorgeous, lanky centurion guarding Octavius back when it was first shown on Australian television? I have keen eyes for beauty, don’t I?

    Actually, then entire movie is available for download in 18 parts on YouTube! So, naturally, I have saved it on Real Player so I can ogle Richard’s legs anytime I want!

    • Yeah, I will get around to posting on everything he’s done eventually (although I do not have This Year’s Love where he is “Snug Man at Party”–he looks great in his tux 😉

      He is definitely the only reason to watch this IMHO. I like Timothy Dalton, but even he doesn’t save this for me. Only hunky Epiphanes. 😉

      • Oh, I heartily agree! Way back when, I watched the movie to see Billy Zane, Timothy Dalton and Rupert Graves! As you say, only His Hunkiness saved it from complete disaster.

        I watch any program with even a hint of ancient history, Egypt or Shakespeare in it so I have oddles of videotapes. I like a good period drama, too, and really appreciate that we get so many of the BBC and ITV programs on free-to-air television.

        I bought “This Year Love” for $5 from Amazon.co.uk as a part of one of my orders. If I buy 25 pounds’ worth (that’s around $34 AUD), I get free shipping from the UK to Australia – one of the reasons I buy more often from the UK than the US. This is the trick I also told Matthew to do!

        I’ve just bought “The Tudors” season 2 for just under $20 from one of our retailers like your Walmart – I’ll keep it for later as I’m watching “Damages” at the moment on DVD – only the 1st season of “Damages” was shown here on television for some strange reason, so I’m really pleased that I was able to purchase the other 2 seasons relatively cheaply at a local store. the other

        • uh uh…typo alert. Somehow, I managed to post my comment with an extra “the other” at the very end!

          I was going to say, Angie, that Richard’s part in “This Year’s Love” is basically what you see on YouTube.

          • Well, I knew there wasn’t much to it when he’s billed as “smug man at party” 😉 I heard the movie itself was pretty entertaining so it might be something I would enjoy anyway.

          • I have loved watching Jennifer Ehle since her appearance in P&P in 1995 (my favourite production of “Pride and Prejudice” [ah, memories of the gorgeous Colin Firth arising from the lake in his wet white shirt!!]) and I quite admire Douglas Henshall, too. .

  2. I found Cleopatra in a charity shop and bought it just to fill the gap in my RA back catologue. I think I have watched it properly (i.e., not just skipped forward to every glimpse I can find of that gorgeous man in the toga!) all of twice.

    • Smart woman. 😀 It is worth having just to enjoy Richard if you can find a bargain like that. The whole Roman look–the hair, the eye makeup, the toga and the sandals–really suited him. I have only watched it properly once–and that was all I could manage!!

  3. I bought this fim for Timoty and Rupert,I was terribly dissapointed and unfortunately I don’t have such a astute eye as Kathryngaul.;)

  4. I love Rupert Graves, I saw him on stage in London co-starring with Michael Gambon in Harold Pinter’s “Caretaker” and he was very good. I’ve had a soft spot for the guy ever since “Room with a View” in which he was absolutely adorable. My favourite Roman-themed piece is “Caesar and Cleopatra ” by G.B. Shaw, an oooold made-for-TV movie starring Alec Guiness and Genevieve Bujold, who were both excellent as the leads. Oh and I liked “Rome” too, which was full of great British actors (although there were some extremely violent scenes in that that I just couldn’t stomach). RA would have been good in “Rome”! He could have played Marc Antony maybe? Or would he have been too young for that? I’m being naughty because M.A. got to get his kit off quite a lot in the series, had a number of very saucy scenes plus a full frontal nude scene…

        • Michael Gambon’s performance in the role of the homeless guy in “The Caretaker” was THE BEST performance I have ever seen by any actor on stage, EVER. He simply lived the part. And I was sitting up in the 3rd tier, could only see the top of the actors’ heads, and yet, his performance came over so strongly that I’ll never, ever forget it (I saw it 12 or 13 years ago). A few days later I saw Michael Gambon on TV in a costume drama playing a nobleman and he was utterly convincing in that role too. I was stunned by the man’s range.

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