The cinematography, which won the Oscar, is excellent, with great shot framing and beautiful lighting effects. The editing is also impressive, most notably in a battle scene near the end of the film which is by far the film's best scene.
"Cleopatra", with its "Wolf of Wall Street"-like focus on the spectacles the titular queen surrounds herself with and the overly theatrical performances of its actors, feels more like "Monty Python" than serious history, and it doesn't dig deeper than its gilded surface, but it's a fun enough watch if you're bored and have 100 minutes to spare.
Claudette Colbert was the Infamous Egyptian Queen & although good she lacked impact. You should watch this before the 1964 version since it's hard not to compare.
Considering it was made in 1934 it had amazing sets & costumes & quite good sound recording considering sound had only be around a few years. It's just a bit dull & tedious in parts.
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.