Rome wasn't built in a day, even if Daryl F. Zanuck was principal contractor.
The Nubians are Kool Beans
Initial Cleopatra treatment and resulting screenplay was conceived as an intimate drama concerning Rome's imperialistic designs in North Africa and showcasing a stellar cast. Signals began malfunctioning when Zanuck returned to Fox from a sabbatical on the Continent --- refreshed and reinvigorated. Readers, if you have ever viewed this still-smoldering train wreck from beginning to end the results are obvious: highly speculative risk obtains extreme financial peril.
I'm of the opinion that Zanuck had “Major Mojo Recovery” in mind when he decided “We're 20th Century Fox and if anyone can rebuild Rome, it's us. Second thought, throw Egypt in there as well.” Letters of credit commenced, checkbooks opened and something resembling the creation of Levittown, Long Island was initiated at Cinecittà.
With construction underway what to do in Italy on a lay-off? Well, from my experience, hanging out is really cool. Eat, drink, museums, cruise the clubs, casual sex encounters. Burn through cash until one has to call home and obtain a wire transfer. Gain lots of weight from all the carbs and drink. (In my case twenty pounds.)
Dir. Joseph L. Mankewitz isn't slacking. He's having agita & angina with every new rewrite flown in and is totally “not down” with how the picture is evolving.
"My Line is Your Line of Credit"
With all the down-time on Cleo, no significant income is coming Fox's way. Shareholders are nervous. Zanuck has another brilliant idea … “Let's bring back Marilyn!”
Something's Got To Give (1962)
Cleopatra's budget is an estimated 44 million dollars in 1960's money (if you are clever enough to calculate this in terms of worthless 2012 money please advise.). It was not until eight years later that Fox cleared enough for the film to break even. But Fox did not have to declare bankruptcy and managed to recover through the 60's and actually became profitable again. Until …
"Well Hello, Dolly!"
Anyone with any internet savvy knows of the “Streisand Effect” but the effect was evident long before the creation of the interwebs. Babs escaped this one without serious scars or injuries, leaving Fox to take the full frontal financial assault from creditors. (Actually the assault was delivered from behind, but W-'O-C is a family-friendly site and we'll keep it that way.)
Hello, Dolly! was a no-brainer, and Fox was second only to MGM in producing lavish blockbuster Broadway musicals for the screen. What could possibly go wrong?
I've been searching for over three weeks to present the “finale” to Hello, Dolly! as a concluding moment but it looks as if Babs' lawyers are very good at issuing DCMA take-downs. But here's the trailer, which gives you a good idea of just how possible wrong can be, while having the good taste and charity to be a lot shorter in length.
"Every Future Entertainment That Wants To Call Itself Great...Will Have To Measure Up to "Dolly"
Happy 4 July to everyone, and Happy Higgs Boson day as well.