Caesar and Cleopatra (1946): Oscar Nominated Gabriel Pascal Film, Starring Vivien Leigh and Claude Rains

UK (J. Arthur Rank-Gabriel Pascal)

 Serving as producer and director, British Gabriel Pascal gave this adaptation of the George Bernard Shaw play a full and elaborate treatment, with lush production values, which may explain why it was one of the most expensive films in UK history.

Pascal cast as the young Cleopatra Vivien Leigh at the prime of her beauty and fame (married to another royal at the time, Olivier) and Claude Rains as Julius Caesar, the man who instructs her in political and other skills.

Though faithful to the source material, some critics found the film wanting in terms of drama and energy. And overall, this version is uneven.

Even so, there are some standout scenes, a result of the acting and of the cinematography, courtesy of the work of no less than four lensers: Freddie Young, Robert Krasker, Jack Hildyard, and Jack Cardiff (who later became a director), all Oscar nominees and winners for other films.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Interior Decoration (color): John Bryan

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Art Direction Oscar was the family drama, “The Yearling,” starring Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman.