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Cleopatra Reviews

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Super Reviewer

January 30, 2012
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.
Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

July 14, 2007
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.

Super Reviewer

October 2, 2010
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.

Super Reviewer

January 18, 2008
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.
John B

Super Reviewer

November 25, 2007
I enjoyed this more than Liz Taylor's version. The men are less than convincing in their roles but Claudette Colbert plays a very interesting Cleo.
October 26, 2011
Delectable over-the-top sudsy historical picture. Claudette Colbert's portrayal of the Egyptian queen is intelligent, witty, steely and very seductive. She makes it easy to see how two powerful men were held in her thrall. William Warren is commanding and strong as Caesar. Henry Wilcoxon is surly and manly as Anthony. Both were great. Cecil B. DeMille's direction is flawless. The sets are sumptuous and rich. The screenplay is brilliantly smack in the middle between Shakespeare and Dynasty. Great fun to watch.
June 22, 2011
Claudette Colbert was so beautiful in this, & I don't know how they got away with those costumes, she was nearly topless.This version stands up well against the Elizabeth Taylor version.I loved this too
June 6, 2010
I hate to say it.. But this my Favorite Cleopatra film out of all of them. Visualy stunning and well done for the time period, this epic film is a joy. Claudette Colbert's portrale was some what sensual and aluring, but still human and full of emotion. I throughly enjoyed this movie and will watch it again!
February 14, 2010
Extravagant production, very Cecil B. DeMille. A bit over the top and a bit campy. Claudette Colbert is always good, Warren William is fair, he doesn't have much charisma. It's fascinating as a curio.
November 23, 2008
honestly, who knows what happened back then. how much of de mille's film is actually true is still a matter of argument. but colbert is a spicy delight as the queen, and william and wilcoxon are admirable leads. the highlight of the film is the sudection of antony. where the taylor-burton version is leaden, this one isn't. it is light, comic and tastefully erotic, but not to the point where cleo's purpose is obscured.
February 23, 2007
This Demille film is the original and out ranks its follow-ups. This was I placed here due to some of the mapping and acting that was done here. It was considered an animation in its time. It is a well acted movie with a lot of punch for an older movie and a classic as well.
August 12, 2013
Classic movie by DeMille, the 4th Cleopatra one in cinema history - the actings are good, Claudette Colbert being the best in the movie. To the time that it was shooted, it have nice scenography and photography. The main story follows the history, with some adptations, and focus on the characters. My score: 7,0 / 10,0
November 5, 2012
Cecil B. DeMille is perhaps best known today for his over-the-top epics, such as The Ten Commandments, his final film and major Oscar winner. His version of the Cleopatra story does little to diminish this view: it is a spectacle, uninhibited and occassionally deranged, with a powerhouse performance from the beautiful Claudette Colbert.

This version does not attempt to be authentic: the Egyptian and Roman decor is art-deco, there are moments of sheer modernity - "Poor Calpurnia...well, the wife is always the last to know" - and much of the major expected action takes place off screen and is alluded to by non-players. This gives the sense of lives lived on the periphery of history.

The major selling point of this film is the cruise back to Egypt, where Cleopatra woos and then tries to kill Marc Anthony, and there is a pagent of such gloriously silly delight that it lights up the screen. As with everything DeMille did, this one looks like it cost the earth (which the Elizabeth Taylor version in '63 certainly did), but unlike that bloated version, this one works. It is a high moment in the dying days of Pre-Hayes code Hollywood, and worth seeing on the biggest screen possible, in a high quality print. Almost 80 years after it was made, this film still sings beautifully.
Mike L.
September 8, 2012
Wow, Claudette Colbert in a barely there bikini top is quite a site as the seductress Cleopatra as she seduces Caesar, Warren William. With costumes that had to have been pre-code, Colbert is dressed as an enchantress that would make any man question his country. The sets are lavish, and while they do give the appearance of a present day college stage production they are very effective for a 1934 movie production, even when an actor comes stumbling on scene and we hear the thumping of wood where there should be stone. Many scenes are staged and stilted as is the dialogue which depending on the scene or performer goes between proper English and SoCal slang, circa 1930. And once Caesar is dead she plays Mark Anthony (Henry Wilcoxen) for the alpha-male that he is, enticing him with wealth, food, and the perceived male dominance. I believe that when Hollywood talks about the "casting couch" the Hollywood producers and casting directors are envisioning Colbert as Cleopatra because she spends a good majority of the movie reclining on some type of couch looking like a lithesome cat, not sure if she is ready to pounce for death or love. We see that Cleopatra is attracted to power and nothing else, when Anthony takes command to protect Egypt and Cleopatra when Rome declares war, she boils with lust over his ability as a general to lead, and loses it when it is a hollow army. The ability of Colbert as an actress is apparent during this scene when she goes from apathy to lust to desperation, a talent few actors can exhibit in a whole movie let alone one scene. The water battle scene is one of the great early examples of what movies can do to bring an unparalleled immersion into the past. Perhaps no other actress has exuded sex as much as Colbert during this performance, between her costumes, her voice, and her body language it reeked sex appeal at every scene, a truly great performance. The film has many flaws but the performance by Colbert makes me bypass those flaws to the point where I seek out this movie just to watch her, a rare talent.
Adrian B.
June 25, 2012
Lavishly photographed, but ultimately goofy take on the famous queen (Claudette Colbert) in ancient Egypt. The queen-to-be is kidnapped and taken to a new kingdom, where she sleeps her way to the stop and has scores of people serving and dancing for her. In addition, she becomes enveloped in a romance with the Julius Caesar (William Warren), but her reign on the kingdom eventually leads to despair and tragedy for the region. Pretty silly and dated, but it has its amusing moments. Would have been much better if the acting was of higher quality. It is has to be said, however, that the set pieces are quite well made. Interestingly, it is one of three films nominated for the Best Picture that starred Colbert (the other two being "Imitation of Life" and the 1934 winner "It Happened One Night," for which she one Best Actress).
Kevin Rimney
August 14, 2011
I have recently watched Samson and Delilha, it was quite good but this was better. What lead me directly here though was It Happened One Night. Claudette Colbert was so enchanting in it I wanted to see more of her and this movie fit the bill.

Also you should put your self in the theatre of the time, well mentally attempt it. This film would have blown you away back then, it was a historical epic, thankfully a non biblical one.

I don't know what things are historically inaccurate, other than the overall design. But the Acting is adequate, with Claudette carrying the film as she should as the title character. The story and writing are maybe a little soap opera like but lends itself well to the time. The huge sets and costumes, especially Cleopatra's are breath taking at times. Overall I can'twait to sit back and watch this again, cultured as I am with a bowl oof buttery popcorn and bottle of wine. :)
Steven P.
July 8, 2010
I have never seen a Cecille Demille film before this and after watching this I can see why he is a legend. This was a very ambitious film with a high production value for that time period. It is very lavish and extravagant and very detailed. Demille focuses a great deal on sets and costumes and makeup and creates a very opulent atmosphere.

I would imagine that, at the time, the battle scenes were fantastic and exciting, but against today's battle backdrops it pales in comparison. I can't really hold that against the film though; it did come out in 1934. Overall, it was definitely a film ahead of its time.

As for the acting, at first, I was not very happy. It seemed very stilted but then it (or I) began to relax and everything began to flow nicely. Claudette Colbert began to embody Cleopatra more and more as the film wore on. She was sexy and cunning; using her feminine wiles to try and save herself and her kingdom. Ultimately she met her demise but you cant blame her for trying and I certainly enjoyed watching her exploits.
April 26, 2006
Full review coming soon
March 7, 2005
Extravagant production, very Cecil B. DeMille. A bit over the top and a bit campy. Claudette Colbert is always good, Warren William is fair, he doesn't have much charisma. It's fascinating as a curio.
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