Hail Cleopatra! Queen of the Nile & Queen of ’60s Style

cleo00

Bold, brave and beautiful. Elizabeth Taylor in a promotional photo for CLEOPATRA (1963)

This week the 50th Anniversary of CLEOPATRA (1963) is being celebrated at the Cannes Film Festival where a digitally restored print of the film is making its debut. This will be followed by a limited theatrical release and a new lavish double disc Blu-ray set that’s arriving in stores on May 28th. The film has been marred in controversy since it went into production and reviews and articles about CLEOPATRA tend to focus on the scandal that rocked Hollywood after Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton began their very public affair on the opulent sets of this big-budget historical epic. Instead of treading down that tired old path I thought I’d take a different approach and share some thoughts about why I enjoy the film and how it helped make Elizabeth Taylor one of the most influential style icons of the ‘60s.

Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s CLEOPATRA has often been criticized for being a slow-paced bloated bore that’s too talkie and much too long. I can’t completely disagree with all those criticisms but I enjoy the movie as pure spectacle and as a pop culture milestone it absolutely delivers. The sets are stunning and expansive, which gives the story of the Egyptian Queen some much needed depth and scope. And Cleopatra’s entrance into Rome always leaves me breathless and is as spectacular as anything Cecil B. DeMille ever imagined. As for the performances, Rex Harrison and Roddy McDowell are typically hailed as the few bright spots in the film and they’re both very good as Julius Caesar and Octavian but the only reason I keep returning to CLEOPATRA over and over again is to watch Elizabeth Taylor chew up the scenery. Strip CLEOPATRA of Taylor’s domineering presence and you remove the imperious heart and decadent soul of the film. Taylor and her countless costume changes are what keep this 4 hour cinematic opus afloat.

cleptaylorburton

Elizabeth Taylor was 30 years old when she agreed to star in CLEOPATRA for the record breaking some of one million dollars. No actor had ever been offered that much money to appear in a film but Elizabeth Taylor wasn’t just any actor. At the time she was making headlines around the world following her recent marriage to Eddie Fisher and the press was having a field day slut-shaming the actress for her perceived role in the breakup up of Fisher’s previous marriage to America’s sweetheart, Debbie Reynolds. Studio executives at MGM attempted to profit from the public’s fascination with Taylor’s exploits by insisting that she star in BUTTERFIELD 8 playing a prostitute and 20th Century Fox undoubtedly hoped for a similar media frenzy when they offered her the starring role in CLEOPATRA. But Taylor surprised everyone when she demanded a one million dollar salary and 20th Century Fox agreed. Numbers are extremely important in Hollywood and in 1963 that number was staggering. Taylor’s unprecedented paycheck came at a time when women in America were lobbying to get the same pay and benefits as their male coworkers. Today it seems significant that the Equal Pay Act, which required employers to offer women and men equal pay for equal work, was signed into law by John F. Kennedy the same week that CLEOPATRA opened in theaters across the US. Sisters were eager to start doing it for themselves and the royal figure of Cleopatra was a powerful symbol of feminine strength and independence that indirectly helped usher in a new era. Conscious of it or not, Elizabeth Taylor was part of that sea change.

The most observable example of the impact CLEOPATRA had on popular culture was in the way the film transformed women’s fashion. Women may have worn kaftans, wigs, hairpieces and liquid eyeliner before 1963 but after CLEOPATRA these ‘60s fashion staples were everywhere. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the people who were responsible for Cleopatra’s decade changing look.

taylorcleoeyes1

taylorcleoeyes2

Top: Elizabeth Taylor designing the makeup she wore in CLEOPATRA
Bottom: Taylor reapplying her makeup during shooting.

Elizabeth Taylor: Taylor had always enjoyed doing her own make-up and the actress single-handedly designed her extravagant eye make-up for CLEOPATRA, which gave the Egyptian Queen an instantly recognizable appearance. Elizabeth Taylor continued to wear muted catlike eyeliner that accentuated the dramatic curve of her famous violet eyes off set and women everywhere quickly followed suit. During 1962 and 1963 countless magazines published eye make-up how to articles detailing how you could achieve Taylor’s distinct look and it was mimicked and modified by top makeup artists and models throughout the ‘60s.

taylorhaircleo

Some of the wigs Sydney Guilaroff designed for CLEOPATRA

Sydney Guilaroff: Cleopatra’s multiple wigs and hairpieces were created by Sydney Guilaroff, the legendary Hollywood hairstylist who had previously given Louise Brooks her famous bob, made Lucille Ball a redhead and styled Grace Kelly’s hair for her wedding to the Prince of Monaco in 1956. Guilaroff’s impressive array of wig designs for CLEOPATRA guaranteed his reputation as a taste-maker throughout the ’60. Big cascading curls, thick blunt bangs and long bobs became common place and wigs and hairpieces became essential fashion accessories. It’s hard to imagine a woman’s closet without a wig box or two after 1963 and that’s partially due to Sydney Guilaroff ‘s creative influence.

cleocd01

cleocostumeexamples

cleocs01

Top: An early photo of Renié with her sketchbook and Irene Sharaff dressing Taylor
Middle: A few examples of the many costumes that were designed for CLEOPATRA.
Bottom: Original costume sketches.

Oliver Messel, Renié and Irene Sharaff: The budget for Elizabeth Taylor’s costumes in CLEOPATRA was nearly $200,000, which broke all previous records. Naturally many of Hollywood’s best costume designers were eager to manage the project and Oliver Messel, who had designed magnificent costumes for Vivien Leigh in CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA (1945) and previously worked with Elizabeth Taylor on SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER (1959), was originally hired to create Taylor’s wardrobe. When Taylor’s health problems slowed down the production, Messel was replaced by Irene Sharaff but many of Messel’s heavily altered designs still found their way into the film. The creative two-women team of Renié (aka Renié Conley) and Irene Sharaff created 65 different costumes for CLEOPATRA, which was another record breaking number in a film that contained many. Taylor’s dazzling wardrobe consisted of luxurious flowing fabrics in bold, bright hues and adorned with gold trim, rich embroidery and jewels. And the magnificent gold costume Taylor wore as Cleopatra made her grand entrance into Rome was allegedly made from 24-carat-gold cloth. Renié and Irene Sharaff received an Academy Award for the work on the film and they inspired fashion designers around the world. Emilio Pucci and Oscar de la Renta are just two of the fashion forward designers who were influenced by CLEOPATRA but the film’s impact on the fashion world reverberated throughout the ‘60s. Here’s a paragraph from a Feb. 1962 issue of Life Magazine that detailed the rise of the “Cleopatra Look”:

“The stunning look of the vamp from the ancient Nile promises to overflow all the way from the source of the Seine to the mouth of the Mississippi. Inspired by a pair of historic charmers – Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor – the Cleopatra look has already shown up in the collections of top fashion designers in Paris, Italy and the US. Its wearers sport huge billowing hairdos, heavy black eye make-up, elaborate jewelry and lots of it. The dresses they wear reflect early Egyptian drapery and form. Guaranteed to stop traffic in chic supper clubs or crowded super markets.”

The last sentence of Life Magazine’s piece is the key to the wide spread popularity of the “Cleopatra look.” At the time fashion magazines were increasingly appealing to a younger audience that was interested in tighter fitting cloths and rising hemlines. At age 30 Elizabeth Taylor was already considered middle-aged and matronly. After all, the ‘60s was a decade that brought us catch phrases like, “Don’t trust anyone over 30.” But there were plenty of groovy fashion conscious women over 30 who still wanted to look good while they were hosting cocktail parties and shoving shopping carts down the aisle of their local super market. The “Cleopatra look,” which encouraged comfortable loose fitting long dresses and kaftans along with big hair and lots of eyeliner, was attainable by just about anyone no matter what their waist size was.

cleoc3

cleoc03

cleoc07

cleoc04

cleoc01

ceoc04

Although it’s easy to assume that the appeal of CLEOPATRA was all about fashion and the media frenzy surrounding the production, a large part of the film’s allure was due to Elizabeth Taylor herself. Women admired the tenacity Taylor displayed when she lost her husband Mike Todd and their admiration grew for the actress after she nearly died while filming CLEOPATRA but returned to the set with a visible tracheotomy scar. Taylor’s bravery in the face of tragedy and lifesaving surgery was admirable. I also suspect that some of the adoration for Taylor was the result of a backlash against the media that was trying desperately to paint Taylor as a wanton woman and a villain who preyed on other women’s husbands. Many women undoubtedly admired Taylor for having the audacity to follow her passions and run freely into Richard Burton’s arms without giving a damn that the Vatican was calling her an “erotic vagrant.” Taylor’s actions as well as her body were always under incredible scrutiny. Every pound she gained or lost was reported as if it was newsworthy and this obsession the media had with trying to manipulate and subjugate Taylor’s image must have rattled plenty of women’s nerves, particularly when they were suffering similar scrutiny at home. And Taylor’s apparent financial independence and unscrupulous sexual appetite was a challenge to the preconceived ideas about women’s worth and appropriate feminine behavior. She seemed unafraid and boldly asked the men in her life for the world and she occasionally got it handed to her on a diamond incrusted platter. Elizabeth Taylor had become Hollywood royalty despite many challenges and like Cleopatra she demanded royal treatment.

cleoads632

cleoads631

Examples of some Cleopatra inspired beauty products that were marketed at women in 1963

In my own experience I have yet to meet a woman over the age of 40 who doesn’t admire Elizabeth Taylor in some capacity. Men on the other hand don’t seem to find her quite as appealing. Frankly I think she scares the hell out of a lot of men and they typically attack her acting abilities, waist size or what they assume was the ball-busting control she had over the men in her life. Don’t believe me? Just browse the reviews of CLEOPATRA on imdb or other film message boards and you’ll notice a distinct gender bias. Women commentators are much more forgiving of the film’s flaws while a lot of men seem much more eager to attack the film’s female star. Whether they’re aware of it or not, their behavior seems to go hand-in-hand with the way we tend to respond to aggressive women vs. aggressive men. When an actor follows his heart or his loins he’s given a slap on the back and a cigar. When an actress does the same she’s immediately labeled a whore and a home wrecker. And men are also allowed to age much more gracefully than women who have their looks relentlessly scrutinized by the media. When I watch CLEOPATRA today and think about the flurry that surrounded the production as well as the after effects, it plays like a film that encapsulates the early ‘60s. It’s also a solemn reminder of how far women have come and how far we still need to go. All hail Cleopatra! Queen of the Nile and queen of ‘60s style.

cleoc08

42 Responses Hail Cleopatra! Queen of the Nile & Queen of ’60s Style
Posted By AL : May 23, 2013 5:00 pm

Kimberly–terrific article! WHERE did you find those stunning photo’s of Liz in her prime? thank you. She was the one celebrity I’d always wanted to meet (but didn’t). I’ve known people who’ve met her, worked with her, interviewed her, etc. and I’ve never heard anyone say an unkind word about her. She once said “People keep calling me ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Woman’. I’m not–it’s Ava Gardner…” BTW: There was so much crucial footage shot (which the BigWigs demanded be excised), that Mankiewicze pleaded with the studio to, instead, release the film as two SEPARATE films, to be shown simultaneously in two different theatres.

Posted By AL : May 23, 2013 5:00 pm

Kimberly–terrific article! WHERE did you find those stunning photo’s of Liz in her prime? thank you. She was the one celebrity I’d always wanted to meet (but didn’t). I’ve known people who’ve met her, worked with her, interviewed her, etc. and I’ve never heard anyone say an unkind word about her. She once said “People keep calling me ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Woman’. I’m not–it’s Ava Gardner…” BTW: There was so much crucial footage shot (which the BigWigs demanded be excised), that Mankiewicze pleaded with the studio to, instead, release the film as two SEPARATE films, to be shown simultaneously in two different theatres.

Posted By jennifromrollamo : May 23, 2013 5:50 pm

Now I understand why my mom and mother-in-law owned wigs! Great article, enjoyed reading it, and wow on those fashions!

Posted By jennifromrollamo : May 23, 2013 5:50 pm

Now I understand why my mom and mother-in-law owned wigs! Great article, enjoyed reading it, and wow on those fashions!

Posted By Doug : May 23, 2013 8:10 pm

” Men on the other hand don’t seem to find her quite as appealing.”
Can’t answer for any other guy, but my opinion is that her least appealing attribute was that she seemed to be a “High maintenance” woman.
She was beautiful, stunning. If we were to judge by looks alone, she was a winner.
But there is more to a person than looks; if I rubbed a lamp and a genie offered me a choice between being with a beautiful Liz Taylor type or an ‘average’ looking lady who was NOT high maintenance…average would be my choice. Because beauty fades, but a nice and gentle person wears well forever.
As for the movie-I was four years old when it came out-I saw part of it on broadcast TV back in the 80′s, but I haven’t seen it since.
Richard Burton, like Oliver Reed, has never bowled me over with his acting ability. I did like his cross-eyed scenes with Linda Blair in “Exorcist II- The Heretic”. Recently tried to make it through “Where Eagles Dare” but his pomposity drained all the enjoyment out of the picture.

Posted By Doug : May 23, 2013 8:10 pm

” Men on the other hand don’t seem to find her quite as appealing.”
Can’t answer for any other guy, but my opinion is that her least appealing attribute was that she seemed to be a “High maintenance” woman.
She was beautiful, stunning. If we were to judge by looks alone, she was a winner.
But there is more to a person than looks; if I rubbed a lamp and a genie offered me a choice between being with a beautiful Liz Taylor type or an ‘average’ looking lady who was NOT high maintenance…average would be my choice. Because beauty fades, but a nice and gentle person wears well forever.
As for the movie-I was four years old when it came out-I saw part of it on broadcast TV back in the 80′s, but I haven’t seen it since.
Richard Burton, like Oliver Reed, has never bowled me over with his acting ability. I did like his cross-eyed scenes with Linda Blair in “Exorcist II- The Heretic”. Recently tried to make it through “Where Eagles Dare” but his pomposity drained all the enjoyment out of the picture.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : May 23, 2013 8:20 pm

Al – Thanks and I’m glad you liked the photos. Most were found online but I also scanned a few from old magazines. As for all that extra footage, I hope some of it has found its way back into the latest restoration of the film. I haven’t read any reviews of the new Blu-ray double disc set but I look forward to the release.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : May 23, 2013 8:20 pm

Al – Thanks and I’m glad you liked the photos. Most were found online but I also scanned a few from old magazines. As for all that extra footage, I hope some of it has found its way back into the latest restoration of the film. I haven’t read any reviews of the new Blu-ray double disc set but I look forward to the release.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : May 23, 2013 8:22 pm

jennifromrollamo – Wigs were everywhere in the ’60s/early ’70s! I used to steal my moms all the time and play “dress-up.”

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : May 23, 2013 8:22 pm

jennifromrollamo – Wigs were everywhere in the ’60s/early ’70s! I used to steal my moms all the time and play “dress-up.”

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : May 23, 2013 8:38 pm

Doug – Taylor was definitely “high maintenance” in the sense that she had a big appetite for life and its luxuries and from the various books I’ve read I sense that she craved attention from the men in her life. But she probably made more money on her own during her career than all her husbands combined so she could maintain her own lifestyle. She was also much more than just a pretty face. She was a damn good actress and her philanthropy and love of animals for example is legendary. That aside, it’s possible your dislike or disinterest in Taylor could stem from something completely reasonable. There are plenty of actors that do nothing for me for reasons I can’t always fully explain but Reed & Burton are two favorites. And for some reason known only to me, I really like EXORCIST II. Crazy movie that folks love to beat up on but I enjoy it.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : May 23, 2013 8:38 pm

Doug – Taylor was definitely “high maintenance” in the sense that she had a big appetite for life and its luxuries and from the various books I’ve read I sense that she craved attention from the men in her life. But she probably made more money on her own during her career than all her husbands combined so she could maintain her own lifestyle. She was also much more than just a pretty face. She was a damn good actress and her philanthropy and love of animals for example is legendary. That aside, it’s possible your dislike or disinterest in Taylor could stem from something completely reasonable. There are plenty of actors that do nothing for me for reasons I can’t always fully explain but Reed & Burton are two favorites. And for some reason known only to me, I really like EXORCIST II. Crazy movie that folks love to beat up on but I enjoy it.

Posted By Gene : May 23, 2013 10:44 pm

I have not always been impressed with Elizabeth Taylor’s performances, sometime she hit the mark and other times not so much. I do love Suddenly Last Summer, the over-the-top BOOM!, Secret Ceremony to name a few. She certainly was a stunning woman. A friend of a friend knew her from rehab and said she was a very kind, gracious, and generous person. From some of her history I would imagine she wasn’t always happy thus perhaps that explains some of her high-maintenance and histrionics. Nonetheless, she was truly a movie star in the greatest sense. As to Burton, I always loved his voice and the way he delivered his lines. A pity he drank himself into an early grave.

Posted By Gene : May 23, 2013 10:44 pm

I have not always been impressed with Elizabeth Taylor’s performances, sometime she hit the mark and other times not so much. I do love Suddenly Last Summer, the over-the-top BOOM!, Secret Ceremony to name a few. She certainly was a stunning woman. A friend of a friend knew her from rehab and said she was a very kind, gracious, and generous person. From some of her history I would imagine she wasn’t always happy thus perhaps that explains some of her high-maintenance and histrionics. Nonetheless, she was truly a movie star in the greatest sense. As to Burton, I always loved his voice and the way he delivered his lines. A pity he drank himself into an early grave.

Posted By Christine in GA : May 24, 2013 1:26 am

That very first photograph of Elizabeth in the black dress with the asp closure is absolutely breathtaking.

Posted By Christine in GA : May 24, 2013 1:26 am

That very first photograph of Elizabeth in the black dress with the asp closure is absolutely breathtaking.

Posted By Doug : May 24, 2013 5:26 am

Kimberly, please, to be clear-
” That aside, it’s possible your dislike or disinterest in Taylor could stem from something completely reasonable. ”
I don’t dislike Taylor, and I have no disinterest based on any negative idea of Taylor, aside from the high maintenance thing.
She was a fine actress, and had many good attributes-I just noted the one which pings my radar; that is all on me and my past of having been in a relationship with a high maintenance woman.
The young Liz Taylor in “Life With Father” seemed to shine twice as bright as the others on the screen-it was easy to see that she would be a star.
I also like “Exorcist II” very much, more for it being a product of its time and for Blair’s goofy performance. I might watch it tonight, maybe a double bill with “Reposessed”.

Posted By Doug : May 24, 2013 5:26 am

Kimberly, please, to be clear-
” That aside, it’s possible your dislike or disinterest in Taylor could stem from something completely reasonable. ”
I don’t dislike Taylor, and I have no disinterest based on any negative idea of Taylor, aside from the high maintenance thing.
She was a fine actress, and had many good attributes-I just noted the one which pings my radar; that is all on me and my past of having been in a relationship with a high maintenance woman.
The young Liz Taylor in “Life With Father” seemed to shine twice as bright as the others on the screen-it was easy to see that she would be a star.
I also like “Exorcist II” very much, more for it being a product of its time and for Blair’s goofy performance. I might watch it tonight, maybe a double bill with “Reposessed”.

Posted By Benboom : May 24, 2013 8:46 am

These images are a great example of the phenomenon discussed in Greg Ferrara’s recent post “Period Story, Present Day Look”.

Posted By Benboom : May 24, 2013 8:46 am

These images are a great example of the phenomenon discussed in Greg Ferrara’s recent post “Period Story, Present Day Look”.

Posted By DevlinCarnate : May 24, 2013 9:04 am

personally,the movie flat out bored me,the behind the scenes article was ten times more fascinating….i think the only thing i ever liked Burton in was Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,as for anything else,i found him a bit pompous…Oliver Reed on the other hand was great,he had that air of barely controlled menace about him that worked so well when he played villains and rogues

Posted By DevlinCarnate : May 24, 2013 9:04 am

personally,the movie flat out bored me,the behind the scenes article was ten times more fascinating….i think the only thing i ever liked Burton in was Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,as for anything else,i found him a bit pompous…Oliver Reed on the other hand was great,he had that air of barely controlled menace about him that worked so well when he played villains and rogues

Posted By Fred : May 24, 2013 12:33 pm

I always liked Elizabeth Taylor, although Cleopatra is far from my favorite film of hers (I’d have to choose from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly Last Summer). The sets, costumes and Taylor’s beauty overwhelmed the film, and the tale of Caesar, Mark Antony and the Egyptian Queen (who was really Greek) has been portrayed so many times that it’s hard to do anything original with the material. Still, Taylor looked great in the film, but I wonder if the amount she made was worth it, because I think it started a trend in the press that began to unfairly question her talents as an actress along with the moral issues you discuss in your article. I remember when I was growing up how Taylor had been reduced to a punchline in a joke. It is a shame because she was a great actress and an amazing person offscreen who was noted for her generosity to her friends and the things she believed in (for example, I can’t think of a single straight person who did more for gay rights and the fight against AIDS).

Posted By Fred : May 24, 2013 12:33 pm

I always liked Elizabeth Taylor, although Cleopatra is far from my favorite film of hers (I’d have to choose from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly Last Summer). The sets, costumes and Taylor’s beauty overwhelmed the film, and the tale of Caesar, Mark Antony and the Egyptian Queen (who was really Greek) has been portrayed so many times that it’s hard to do anything original with the material. Still, Taylor looked great in the film, but I wonder if the amount she made was worth it, because I think it started a trend in the press that began to unfairly question her talents as an actress along with the moral issues you discuss in your article. I remember when I was growing up how Taylor had been reduced to a punchline in a joke. It is a shame because she was a great actress and an amazing person offscreen who was noted for her generosity to her friends and the things she believed in (for example, I can’t think of a single straight person who did more for gay rights and the fight against AIDS).

Posted By Kingrat : May 24, 2013 12:43 pm

Kimberly, thanks for a great article and some fabulous photographs.

Posted By Kingrat : May 24, 2013 12:43 pm

Kimberly, thanks for a great article and some fabulous photographs.

Posted By MedusaMorlock : May 25, 2013 5:08 pm

I loved this post, Kimberly! I’m also a Taylor fan and find “Cleopatra” mesmerizing because of her, also Alex North’s interesting score and everything else, of course. Imagine other actresses appearing with a clearly-visible tracheotomy scar — it’s a well-earned battle scar and no one could wear it like ET.

If Cleopatra is a timeless figure in history, so is Elizabeth Taylor. Only she could have brought this intriguing woman to life, and if she seems petulant, raspy-voiced or whatever, it’s part of the whole package.

You can tell how one-of-a-kind Elizabeth Taylor was because of the flop that the merely attractive Lindsay Lohan made of her ET TV biopic a while back. Nothing to Lohan, nothing magical, but everything magical about ET.

Great post and wonderful pics! I can’t wait to see the newly restored spiffed-up version. Interesting, TV-programming wise, it was always hard to play “Cleopatra” because it was so long and all the other criticisms, but I remember when one time (late ’80s) TBS ran it on a Sunday morning — and I’m not sure I would have risked it — but it did very well and many of us were quite surprised. La Liz triumphed again!

Posted By MedusaMorlock : May 25, 2013 5:08 pm

I loved this post, Kimberly! I’m also a Taylor fan and find “Cleopatra” mesmerizing because of her, also Alex North’s interesting score and everything else, of course. Imagine other actresses appearing with a clearly-visible tracheotomy scar — it’s a well-earned battle scar and no one could wear it like ET.

If Cleopatra is a timeless figure in history, so is Elizabeth Taylor. Only she could have brought this intriguing woman to life, and if she seems petulant, raspy-voiced or whatever, it’s part of the whole package.

You can tell how one-of-a-kind Elizabeth Taylor was because of the flop that the merely attractive Lindsay Lohan made of her ET TV biopic a while back. Nothing to Lohan, nothing magical, but everything magical about ET.

Great post and wonderful pics! I can’t wait to see the newly restored spiffed-up version. Interesting, TV-programming wise, it was always hard to play “Cleopatra” because it was so long and all the other criticisms, but I remember when one time (late ’80s) TBS ran it on a Sunday morning — and I’m not sure I would have risked it — but it did very well and many of us were quite surprised. La Liz triumphed again!

Posted By Juana Maria : May 26, 2013 4:50 pm

Wow! The photos are great! My twin sister and I had bobbed hair years ago. A family friend would always say that it was an Egyptian hair style. Since we both love history so much it was always a compliment to us! My twin sister went as an Egyptian to a costume party years ago, where again the same family friend called her “Cleopatra”! She laughed and said:” My Caesar!” (which is funny because his real name is Cesar.)

Posted By Juana Maria : May 26, 2013 4:50 pm

Wow! The photos are great! My twin sister and I had bobbed hair years ago. A family friend would always say that it was an Egyptian hair style. Since we both love history so much it was always a compliment to us! My twin sister went as an Egyptian to a costume party years ago, where again the same family friend called her “Cleopatra”! She laughed and said:” My Caesar!” (which is funny because his real name is Cesar.)

Posted By Juana Maria : May 27, 2013 4:05 pm

I love the ad with the Egyptian woman and the black cat! I currently own 3 black cats, and am especially fond of that color of cat. The ancient Egyptians would never have thought of putting to death or hating black cats! Actually, it was a death penalty crime to kill a cat. When beloved cats died their ancient Egyptian owners would mourn for them and shave their eyebrows. I too have mourned my cats’ deaths but never shaved off my nearly perfect eyebrows! Thanks again for the article. I have always been fascinated by ancient history. The ancient Egyptians in particular. Doubtlessly it had something to do with their love of cats! Ha ha.

Posted By Juana Maria : May 27, 2013 4:05 pm

I love the ad with the Egyptian woman and the black cat! I currently own 3 black cats, and am especially fond of that color of cat. The ancient Egyptians would never have thought of putting to death or hating black cats! Actually, it was a death penalty crime to kill a cat. When beloved cats died their ancient Egyptian owners would mourn for them and shave their eyebrows. I too have mourned my cats’ deaths but never shaved off my nearly perfect eyebrows! Thanks again for the article. I have always been fascinated by ancient history. The ancient Egyptians in particular. Doubtlessly it had something to do with their love of cats! Ha ha.

Posted By robbushblog : May 28, 2013 9:49 am

I actually liked Cleopatra. I love big, epic movies like that. The sets were amazing and Cleopatra’s entrance into Rome was incredible. I also found myself on the edge of my seat wondering how much skin and cleavage Liz would show in the next scene. Okay. That’s why I liked the movie. I’m shallow. Liz was hot.

Posted By robbushblog : May 28, 2013 9:49 am

I actually liked Cleopatra. I love big, epic movies like that. The sets were amazing and Cleopatra’s entrance into Rome was incredible. I also found myself on the edge of my seat wondering how much skin and cleavage Liz would show in the next scene. Okay. That’s why I liked the movie. I’m shallow. Liz was hot.

Posted By Karin Sophie : June 1, 2013 9:58 am

Great! But could you please write an article about Travis Banton’s clothes for Claudette Colbert in Cleoptra (1934)?!

Posted By Karin Sophie : June 1, 2013 9:58 am

Great! But could you please write an article about Travis Banton’s clothes for Claudette Colbert in Cleoptra (1934)?!

Posted By Veidt Club : June 4, 2013 2:53 am

Wonderful article! I was intrigued by your labeling of one of the stills as “Elizabeth Taylor designing the makeup she wore in CLEOPATRA.” Unlike the photo bellow it, it isn’t a candid shot of the star experimenting with eyeliner, but rather one taken during the making of the of scene where our heroine makes her servant Lotus drink the poison goblet meant for her, midway through the movie’s first part.

Do you happen to know if Taylor used dummy heads when she designed her makeup? Because if that was the case, than this cool autobiographical detail further illustrates the film’s capitalization of Taylor’s fame to glorify Cleopatra’s.

Posted By Veidt Club : June 4, 2013 2:53 am

Wonderful article! I was intrigued by your labeling of one of the stills as “Elizabeth Taylor designing the makeup she wore in CLEOPATRA.” Unlike the photo bellow it, it isn’t a candid shot of the star experimenting with eyeliner, but rather one taken during the making of the of scene where our heroine makes her servant Lotus drink the poison goblet meant for her, midway through the movie’s first part.

Do you happen to know if Taylor used dummy heads when she designed her makeup? Because if that was the case, than this cool autobiographical detail further illustrates the film’s capitalization of Taylor’s fame to glorify Cleopatra’s.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : June 4, 2013 2:24 pm

Thanks for all the great feedback! I appreciate all the comments and I’m happy to see other Taylor fans sharing their own thoughts about the film.

Medusa – I’m curious about the TV production you mentioned. I haven’t seen it but I’m going to see if I can track it down.

Karin – If inspiration strikes I surely will. I personally prefer the Taylor film mainly because I adore Taylor and like her interpretation of the Egyptian Queen more. But I do like Colbert, especially in the romantic comedies she made such as IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, PALM BEACH STORY, THE EGG AND I, etc.

VeidtClub – According to auctioneers who sold some of Taylor’s belongings she did indeed use the head (or a head) to design her makeup. Was it the first head she used or the only item she used (besides her own face)? I don’t know but I suspect not. My caption was more of a description/commentary than anything else but you can see examples of the head as well as read the auctioneer’s own description here: http://entertainment.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=622&lotIdNo=103026

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : June 4, 2013 2:24 pm

Thanks for all the great feedback! I appreciate all the comments and I’m happy to see other Taylor fans sharing their own thoughts about the film.

Medusa – I’m curious about the TV production you mentioned. I haven’t seen it but I’m going to see if I can track it down.

Karin – If inspiration strikes I surely will. I personally prefer the Taylor film mainly because I adore Taylor and like her interpretation of the Egyptian Queen more. But I do like Colbert, especially in the romantic comedies she made such as IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, PALM BEACH STORY, THE EGG AND I, etc.

VeidtClub – According to auctioneers who sold some of Taylor’s belongings she did indeed use the head (or a head) to design her makeup. Was it the first head she used or the only item she used (besides her own face)? I don’t know but I suspect not. My caption was more of a description/commentary than anything else but you can see examples of the head as well as read the auctioneer’s own description here: http://entertainment.ha.com/c/item.zx?saleNo=622&lotIdNo=103026

Posted By Veidt Club : June 4, 2013 4:41 pm

Wow, that’s really cool! Thanks.

Posted By Veidt Club : June 4, 2013 4:41 pm

Wow, that’s really cool! Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Current ye@r *

Streamline is the official blog of FilmStruck, a new subscription service that offers film aficionados a comprehensive library of films including an eclectic mix of contemporary and classic art house, indie, foreign and cult films.