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J. Searle Dawley
When she discovers that a slave named Pharon professes his love for her, Cleopatra makes a bargain with him: she will give him ten days of "love," at the end of which he is to commit suicide. He agrees, although the queen's handmaiden Iras, in love with the slave, isn't happy with the arrangement. Later when Cleopatra is seducing Marc Antony, her relationship with Pharon is used against her, but with little effect. She allies herself with Antony against Octavius, participates in a brief war, then meets her end rather than be subjected to Roman rule. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <email@example.com>
"Cleopatra" (1912), directed by Charles Gaskill, which premiered on Turner Classic Movies in August 2000, stars stage actress Helen Gardner in the title role. In spite of when it was made (1912), I was prepared to witness a prestigious production handicapped by some overacting and bad camera shots. However, what makes the movie unbearable for me to watch is the really bad sound track that accompanies it: bongo drums, off screen chanting, etc. An organ score would have been sufficient. Presented in correct silent film speed, "Cleopatra" plays at 90 minutes, but again, complaining about the score, made it seem like it runs at 190 minutes. "Cleopatra" was obviously filmed in a studio sound stage, with backdrops moving about like a painted curtain. Had it been done a few years later under the direction of DW Griffith, then possibly it would have become a masterpiece as his 1916 production of INTOLERANCE. But because of that new underscoring (there I go again), maybe "Cleopatra" would have been somewhat bearable. I recommend the present version for insomniacs only.
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