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Timeless Films: Cleopatra (1963)

Cleopatra achieved notoriety during its production for its massive cost overruns and production troubles, which included a change of filming locale, sets that had to be constructed twice, mid-production changes in director and cast, lack of a firm shooting script, and personal scandal around its co-stars. Adjusted for inflation, it is one of the most expensive films ever made.

The film nearly bankrupted 20th Century Fox, though the studio would be rescued from bankruptcy, and have both its prestige and legacy restored, two years later with the release of the highly popular and acclaimed movie musical The Sound of Music. Cleopatra later won four Academy Awards, and was nominated for five more, including Best Picture (which it lost to Tom Jones).

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Timeless Films: THE RED SHOES (1948)

Based on Hans Christian Andersen fairytale “The Red Shoes” (1948) is a story of a young ballet dancer torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina. Won two Oscars (1949) for Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Color and Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture categories. Nominated for Best Picture, Best Writing, Motion Picture Story and Best Film Editing.

A striking and elegant mise en scène inspired greatly by Renoir. The beautiful color photography of the sets (London, Paris and Monte Carlo) compliment the setting, glamorous 1940s, where everyone wore chic clothes and were perfectly mannered and groomed. It is given life by some of the most talented dancers of the era: Leonid Myasin/Massine as lovable Grisha; Ludmilla Tchérina as glamorous, flighty Irina; Robert Helpmann – who choreographed the title ballet – as Ivan; Marie Rambert as herself, and Moira Shearer (Ashton’s ‘Cinderella’) highly appealing as the heroine Vicky. The non-dancing cast is led by Archers regulars Anton Walbrook and Marius Goring.