In 48 BC, Cleopatra, facing palace revolt in her kingdom of Egypt, welcomes the arrival of Julius Caesar as a way of solidifying her power under Rome. When Caesar, whom she has led astray, is killed, she transfers her affections to Marc Antony and dazzles him on a barge full of DeMillean splendor. But the trick may not work a third time... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Daily Variety reported that the film was badly panned by Italian critics, one of whom called it a "travesty and a burlesque," when shown in Rome. It also was met with "catcalls and derisive laughter" from the audience. See more »
The main doors to Cleopatra's chambers have modern metal hinges. See more »
This is a very different Cleopatra than the 1963 version!
This movie is very different from the 1963 film starring Elizabeth Taylor. This version of "Cleopatra" doesn't take itself nearly as seriously as that film, and actually, it may be easier to watch for that very reason. However, Cleopatra as played by Claudette Colbert is definitely over the top. At times, she is so campy in her role that it seems inappropriate given some of the situations she is in and the gravity of the moment. I often had the sense that Claudett Colbert was straining to bring out a great performance of Cleopatra but that the director was guiding her to overdo it against her wishes and she somehow is letting the audience know! "Cleopatra" walks a fine line between being a tongue in cheek film and between being a serious drama, and sometimes the lines get blurred. Warren William is a bit irritating in his role as Julius Caesar. Henry Wilcoxon fares much better as Marc Antony and this film picks up steam as soon as he arrives on the scene. Several of the bit players are very good in "Cleopatra." This movie has an odd fascination to it. I actually found it to be better the second time I watched it than the first. It's worth watching for film buffs, but perhaps not everyone's cup of tea. I'd give this one an 80/100 despite the fact that it was nominated for "Best Picture" in 1934.
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