updated 06/11/2013 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 06/12/2013 AT 6:45 AM ET
Still the most notorious movie of all time – for its record-setting cost overruns, for the scandalous extramarital affair of its two stars, and for how its out-of-control production brought down the entire administration of 20th Century-Fox – Cleopatra, with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, marks the 50th anniversary of its world premiere on June 12.
In tribute to the landmark, and Life magazine’s lively coverage of the epic as the drama unfolded behind the scenes in Rome half a century ago, Life.com has assembled an eye-catching photo spread of several rare and even never-before-seen Cleopatra photographs by Paul Schutzer.
Titled Liz Taylor and Richard Burton on the Set of ‘Cleopatra’: Rare and Classic Photos, the layout shows the two stars at play not only with each other, but with their children during the making of what remains one of the great lavish spectacles the screen has ever seen.
“Liz, on set, looks absolutely relaxed,” correspondent Nadine Liber wrote her Life editors from Rome in March 1962. “In between takes she stays always with Burton, who jokes with her all the time. Whatever relationship there is between Liz and Burton, they’ve decided to make the fact they enjoy each other as obvious as the famous nose on Cleo’s face.”
To see the Life photos, click here.