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Trailers from Hell: Dan Ireland on Cinema's Great Troubled Production, 'Cleopatra,' Starring Taylor and Burton

Photo of Trailers From Hell By Trailers From Hell | Thompson on Hollywood August 19, 2013 at 11:42AM

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.
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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).

This article is related to: Trailers, Trailers from Hell, Trailers, Video, Video


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.