Elizabeth Taylor in "Cleopatra"
Elizabeth Taylor in "Cleopatra"

Box Office Busts! kicks off this week at Trailers from Hell, with director Dan Ireland introducing the most notorious budget-ballooning debacle in film history, Joseph L. Mankiewicz' "Cleopatra," starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

There’s never been anything quite like it, before or since. Years in the making and more notable for its long term show biz fallout than its actual merits, this spectacularly mounted historical effusion is the very definition of the Troubled Production. There are many published treatises on the unmaking of this movie, none more insightful than harried producer Walter Wanger’s “My Life with Cleopatra” (1963).