Important silent version of the Antony and Cleopatra story
Based loosely on Shakespeare's play, Plutarch's "Life of Antony", and Pietro Cossa's dramatic poem, "Cleopatra", this movie was spectacular for its time. It offers location shots made in Italy and Egypt, large crowd scenes (e.g., the Roman army embarking in Alexandria), lots of emotional drama (Marc Antony & Cleopatra, his wife Octavia, sister of Antony's rival Octavian, unhistorically coming to Alexandria to beg him to return to her, and some mean, mean looks exchanged between Octavia and Cleopatra. The scene in which the slave Charmian is threatened by alligators is truly creepy. I wonder whether it was this scene that inspired Cecil B. DeMille to have alligators eat the Christians in the arena in his 1932 "Sign of the Cross". He certainly had no basis in fact for this.
The video version I saw was not of the highest quality, but then this may simply be the best print they could find. The organ music that was added to the film, however, does not sound like anything someone would have played in 1913 and is so annoying that you may simply want to turn the sound off.
For another review of this film, see Jon Solomon, The Ancient World in the Cinema (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2001), p. 62-63.
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