Charlton Heston, whose ardor for Shakespeare goes back to his 16mm film college days in Chicago, has herein come up with a very creditable retelling of the Bard’s Antony & Cleopatra passion. It is impressively mounted and well played, and though lengthy it sustains well.
The finished film is a neat balance of closeup portraiture and panoramic action; the big battle sequences on land and sea are impressive achievements [directed by Joe Canutt], and the Spanish location landscape provides a stunning backdrop.
Heston’s adaptation, for the most part, succeeds in avoiding the sort of character simplification that would have produced a picture simply for the eye. Hildegard Neil proves one of Cleo’s more convincing screen incarnations.
Heston himself as Antony very often succeeds in capturing the nobility of the character. The real handicap is borne by John Castle as Octavius Caesar. It’s one of those monochromatic, steadily dour parts that doesn’t leave the actor much room.