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 responsible Roman worthies as Julius Caesar (Warren William, who wittily plays his role like one of his standard ruthless business executives) and Marc Antony (Henry Wilcoxon) around her well-manicured little finger. To emphasize the "contemporary" nature of the film, DeMille adds little modernistic touches throughout: The architecture of Egypt and Rome has a distinctly art-deco look; a matron at a social gathering clucks "Poor Calpurnia...well, the wife is always the last to know"; and, after Caesar's funeral, Mark Anthony is chided by an associate for "all that 'Friends, Romans, Countrymen' business!" Cleopatra's barge scene and her suicide from the bite of a snake marked two of the most memorable sequences in DeMille's career. Remarkably, for all the enormous sets and elaborate costumes, Cleopatra came in at a budget of $750,000 -- almost $40 million less than the 1963 Elizabeth Taylor remake.~Hal Erickson
Claudette Colbert: Queen of the Silver Screen
Cecil B. DeMille: Hollywood's Epic Director
Forbidden Film: The Production Code Era
Feature commentary with filmmaker F.X. Feeney
Cecil B. DeMille
Warren WilliamJulius Caesar
Henry WilcoxonMarc Antony
Joseph SchildkrautKing Herod
C. Aubrey SmithEnobarbus
Harry BeresfordThe Soothsayer
Jayne ReganLady Vesta
Florence RobertsLady Flora
William V. MongCourt physician
Robert WarwickGen. Achillas
Wilfred LucasRoman Greeting Antony
Jack MulhallRoman greeting Antony
Hal PriceOnlooker at procession
Richard AlexanderGen. Philodemas
Cecil B. DeMilleProducer
Rudolph G. KoppComposer (Music Score)
Travis BantonCostume Designer
Franklin HansenSound/Sound Designer
Historical Epic,Romantic Epic
Year of Release
75th Anniversary Edition, DVD, With Collectible Photo Cards
Terrific DeMille classic spectacular! Enjoyed every minute of it.
I would recommend this to a friend
Rating 5 out of 5 stars with 1 review
Claudette Colbert Still Rocks!
Owned for 2 months when reviewed.
I like watching old movies from Hollywood's Golden Age. I have already owned Liz Taylor's Cleopatra and I got this to compare or contrast these two movies. Claudette Colbert's version pushed the envelope before the Hayes Codes of decently were enacted. This should be in your collection if you love Hollywood's Golden Age.
This is classic Cecil B. Demille epic film about Cleopatra. How historically accurate it is, can be argued. But it is definitely entertaining! Those sets were incredible. Never a dull moment.
Also, currently priced at an insane $10 which is a bargain for this classic.
The disc also includes 3 documentaries (the Code era, Claudette Colbert and DeMille features).
For film-lovers of all ages and shapes, this is a no-brainer buy. Claudette Colbert IS Cleopatra, anchoring a movie packed with the kind of organic visual splendor that makes today’s boring CGI look seriously lame. And you get it with a blu-ray transfer that makes it look like the film was made yesterday!
Cleopatra is one of the great films of the 1930s - and in this Blu-ray upgrade looks like it was made yesterday! More enjoyable to watch over and over again than any modern rubbish, the sets, costumes and effects all look glorious in the fabulous black-and-white! NOW Best Buy please please the latest re-released classics each week as well as all that new rubbish - and I'll be back in your brick-and-mortar story every Tuesday just like I used to be.