6.8/10
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53 user 39 critic

Cleopatra (1934)

Passed | | Biography, Drama, History | 5 October 1934 (USA)
The man-hungry Queen of Egypt leads Julius Caesar and Mark Antony astray, amid scenes of DeMillean splendor.

Director:

Cecil B. DeMille

Writers:

Waldemar Young (screen play), Vincent Lawrence (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Claudette Colbert ... Cleopatra
Warren William ... Julius Caesar
Henry Wilcoxon ... Marc Antony
Joseph Schildkraut ... Herod
Ian Keith ... Octavian
Gertrude Michael ... Calpurnia
C. Aubrey Smith ... Enobarbus
Irving Pichel ... Apollodorus
Arthur Hohl ... Brutus
Edwin Maxwell ... Casca
Ian Maclaren Ian Maclaren ... Cassius (as Ian MacLaren)
Eleanor Phelps Eleanor Phelps ... Charmion
Leonard Mudie ... Pothinos
Grace Durkin ... Iras
Ferdinand Gottschalk ... Glabrio (scenes deleted)
Edit

Storyline

In 48 BC, Cleopatra, facing palace revolt in her kingdom of Egypt, welcomes the arrival of Julius Caesar as a way of solidifying her power under Rome. When Caesar, whom she has led astray, is killed, she transfers her affections to Marc Antony and dazzles him on a barge full of DeMillean splendor. But the trick may not work a third time... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Set In A Spectacle of Thrilling Magnificence! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 October 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cleopatra See more »

Filming Locations:

El Segundo, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

From the outset, Cecil B. DeMille was determined to bring the Cleopatra story to the masses, feeling that the William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw versions were too highbrow. See more »

Goofs

Cleopatra VII, a woman of the 1st Century BC, wears makeup of the 1930s--even lips painted in the heart shape made famous by Jean Harlow. See more »

Quotes

Cleopatra: My tongue's bewitched by Caesar. The man in you seems even mightier than the general.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The movie was released in Germany with German direction by Kurt Blemis and German dialogue by Helmut Brandis and Helena von Fortenbach. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Midnight at the Wax Museum (1936) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Cleopatra (1934) ***1/2
9 July 2005 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

I wasn't looking forward to this one as much as THE SIGN OF THE CROSS (considered by many as De Mille's best film) but I must say that I was just as impressed by it. The pacing here is smoother, and we do get to see some wonderful action montages towards the end as opposed to the rather middling arena stuff of CROSS.

Claudette Colbert, too gets a lot more coverage this time around and certainly clinches the title role far better than the positively annoying Elizabeth Taylor in the ill-fated 1963 version. However, the male leads here are less interesting, for lack of a better word: Henry Wilcoxon and Warren William are adequate but, naturally, no match for the thespian skills of Richard Burton and Rex Harrison respectively.

The supporting cast is notable (Ian Keith, Irving Pichel, Joseph Schildkraut, C. Aubrey Smith) and the film features a number of great scenes: Caesar's murder (partly filmed in a POV shot), following which is a delicious jibe at Antony's famous oratory during Caesar's funeral as envisioned by Shakespeare; the long - and justly celebrated - barge sequence, in which Antony (intent on teaching Cleopatra, whom he blames for Caesar's death, a lesson) ends up being completely won over by her wiles; Cleopatra's own death scene is simply but most effectively filmed.

Like in THE SIGN OF THE CROSS, the film's production values are truly awe-inspiring and, in fact, Victor Milner was awarded with a well-deserved Oscar for his lush cinematography here. Needless to say, De Mille's take on Cleopatra, despite feeling hurried since it runs for less than half its length, is a more satisfying viewing experience than the stultifyingly dull, overblown and misguided (if still worthwhile and not quite as catastrophic as the history books would have it) later version.


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