Movie Fact #87 - November 12th, 2020
The original cut of the 1963 film Cleopatra that director Joseph L. Mankiewicz screened for the studio was six hours long. While it's This it was cut to four hours for its initial premiere, ultimately studio demanded (over the objections of Mankiewicz) that the film be cut once more, this time to just barely over three hours. this was to allow theaters to increase the number of showings per day. Despite this, Mankiewicz actually attempted to convince the studio to split the film in two in order to preserve the original cut, the first part titled Caesar and Cleopatra followed by the second part, Antony and Cleopatra. This, of course, didn't happen. Even star Elizabeth Taylor agreed it was lacking from all the cuts:
"They had cut out the heart, the essence, the motivations, the very core, and tacked on all those battle scenes. It should have been about three large people, but it lacked reality and passion. I found it vulgar."
This is one of the earliest and most direct examples of the conflict between the creative side of the film industry and the business side. Stay tuned!