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Cleopatra (1934)


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Release Date: Oct 5, 1934 Wide



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 829

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Movie Info

Film historian William K. Everson once observed that the secret to the success of Cecil B. DeMille's 1934 Cleopatra is that DeMille subtly reshaped the known historical events into a contemporary "gold-digger makes good" scenario. Exhibiting the same determination with which Barbara Stanwyck sleeps her way to the top in 1933's Baby Face, Queen Cleopatra (Claudette Colbert) uses her feminine wiles to become sole ruler of Egypt. By turns kittenish and cold-blooded, Cleopatra wraps such otherwise

May 23, 2006

Paramount Pictures

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All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (7) | Rotten (1) | DVD (2)

... DeMille's lavish but stilted film... is all production value and no style.

April 9, 2009 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

Despite many incongruous elements, like treating the text as soap opera and the dialogue as gossip, this is one of DeMille's most enjoyable films, superior to Mankiewicz 1963 version, in large part due to Claudette Colbert's sexy interpretation.

March 9, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

DeMille at his most DeMille.

November 1, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

It's fun to watch -- no, it's stunning to watch, because of all the money that DeMille and company threw at the screen.

September 12, 2004 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Typical overblown DeMille "historical" spectacle.

July 30, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The master showman Cecil B. DeMille's Cleopatra (1934) is a modernistic 1930s costume spectacle that reshapes the Cleopatra story

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films
Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films

Audience Reviews for Cleopatra

For a DeMille pageant film this one is not too over the top with Claudette suitably seductive in the lead although the 1930's eyebrows are a distraction. The production design and costumes are the real attraction here. Not a great film, not terrible but if you are looking for full on DeMille debaunchery cloaked in piety watch The Sign of the Cross instead.
February 20, 2012
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

For my money the best cinematic Cleo, baby, Cleo, and the reason is the sensuous, languorous smoky turn given by Claudette Colbert who, along with the ever conspicuous DeMille, conspire to seduce us into sublime and decadent oblivion ... and it doesn't seem as bad as my preacher says it is. Opulence that makes Liz come off as a frumpy housewife at a golf club social.
November 28, 2011

Super Reviewer

The only reason to watch this movie is for Colbert. Otherwise, it's just the same old story we've seen over and over in other movies about Cleopatra, nothing new.
October 2, 2010

Super Reviewer

the 30s "cleopatra" is cecil b. demille's epic piece as well as claudette colbert's ultimate height of shimmering glamour in lavish period costumes by the 30s fashion genius travis banton.

the triangle between cleopatra, caesar and marc antony is grandeurly reputed and celebrated with the rosiness of feministic romance to the seductress blessed with beauty, intelligence, wealth and supreme power, wholeheartedly in love with elite studs. it's simply too surreally divine to befall on earth.

compared with the 60s cleopatra made with elizabeth taylor, demile's aware of the art of conciseness, and his cuts of cleopatra's affair with caesar is transient but sharp to the crucial point: caesar doesn't love cleopatra but infatuated with the inquisiton of her gold as well as the deliciously prosperous egypt.

then the scenery shifts to the romance with marc antony who contempts love and deems women as the play things of the warriors that makes it tastefully witty to witness how cleopatra conquers the steel-hearted antony by disarming him level by level with sly humor. and the showcast of those egyptian vaudevilles are tour de farce which could only be presented by demille's wheeling camera, such as the she-leopard circular flame-diving sequence. and henry wilcoxon as antony delivers enough virility to dignify this grandly masculine man melted by the lure of a siren. the scene he reacts to roman's defying duel with reckless bravado to fight with his last breath is the exemplification of primitive manhood while cleopatra kneels beside him to surrender as a woman in love, a conquest of his enormous machoness then she nullifies the fickle scheme to poison him into death.

the prestigious suicide to declare cleopatra's sacred love is written with mighty aloofness "be careful when you seek love, if you cannot find love, don't give a thing...if you're rich as cleopatra, give everything!"...then the camera looms over her statuesque dead posture as she demises by the snake bite, permeated with her egoistically lofty pride which prevents her from consdescending at last moment, even defeated by backfires.
January 18, 2008
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

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