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I wasn't expecting much from this cheapie version of the well-known Anthony and Cleopatra tale, but it is interesting for several different reasons. I wouldn't go out of my way to see it, but if you in the mood, this will pass your time.
First, this is an extremely low budget effort. That actually is a plus to me, because the high budget versions tend to lose focus, replacing wit with artifice. The characters wear the standard Roman army Halloween costumes, and everybody who isn't going to be around for a while is played by someone you almost certainly won't recognize. The painted backdrops are a hoot. Raymond Burr, who really hadn't made his name yet, manages to impress as a drunken, weak-willed Antony, while Rhonda Fleming as Cleopatra is stunning and manages to toss in a goblet-throwing temper tantrum here and there.
Second, the camp value of this version is way out there. Fleming plays Cleopatra as a scheming tart with totally unrealistic expectations for her lovers who entertains them with whip-wielding women dressed as Roman soldiers. William Lundigan plays her surprise love interest, Antony's associate who apparently had an affair with her years before as one of Caesar's guards. He grimaces through the film, looking for all the world as if he's looking for a horse to ride off into a Gene Autry film. Nobody looks particularly Egyptian, and Burr sounds more like Perry Mason than a Roman General. It's never really made clear why he went to Egypt in the first place, except that he "likes to have Cleopatra around" while Octavian takes over where the real action is, back in, um, Rome. Michael Ansara is around as Cleopatra's somewhat bumbling heavy to add to the low-rent feel.
Third, if the story interests you, it's refreshing to see a different take on it without all the overblown pageantry and histrionics that mar pretty much all the other versions. They were just people like everyone else, and this flick's perverse achievement is that it indeed makes everyone look pretty ordinary.
As I said, don't go out of your way to see this one. It's bad history done, well, badly. But Fleming is attractive and wears her tight, provocative low-cut '50's numbers well, and the romantic triangle allows her to emote all over the bare-bones scenery. See it only if that would amuse you.
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