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Cleopatra 75th Anniversary Edition (Universal Backlot Series)
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I found Claudette Colbert to be an excellent Cleopatra and while she is most famous for portraying sophisticated modern women in "Cleopatra" and her other epic production from that time, "The Sign of the Cross" she captures beautifully the feel of that far off time in history. Claudette was an extremely capable actress equally adept at performing in comedy, drama and spectacle. Here she has a role of a lifetime and it is one of the roles she is justly remembered most for.
Contrary to what a lot of reviewers always state I find Cecil B DeMille's work wonderful to watch. I guess being a history buff I just love the times most of his productions are set in.I think that a great deal of thought and care has gone into all his productions...no more obvious than in his 1934 version of "Cleopatra"
The film positvely glows with one exotic scene after another. Cleopatra's seduction of Marc Antony on her barge has to be seen to be believed!! Surely the queen's real barge was never so lavish!! Her entry into Rome as part of Ceasar's entourage while well done can't possibly compare to the incredibly lavish entry scene in Elizabeth Taylor's version unfortunately.
As a history exercise it stays close to what real history says happened but never once does the entertainment let up. The settings , costumnes, music used are pure DeMille and are thus a sight for the eye.Read more ›
To me, whenever a film, of any era, comes close to "opera" , I am won-over... completely; I use "opera" in the sense of spectacle transcending its storyline to become something larger than itself... and this film soars.
Although of a film acting-tradition "of the grand gesture", most of the performances are thoroughly winning... and Henry Wilcoxen is simply STUNNING as Marc Antony... in all senses of that word. Miss Colbert equally triumphs as the young queen, wise beyond her years... "pulling-out all the stops" to secure her position as ruler of Egypt.
As another reviewer attests... that "royal barge" seduction scene, in which Cleopatra secures the devotion of Marc Antony is truly breathtaking... the most beautiful... and effortless "abduction" ever; the poor beguiled Roman wakes-up in Eqypt! This one, single, magically-crafted scene, on its own, warrants seeing this film.
As movie viewers, part of the experience must be acceptance and self-surrender. We must not impose our personal twenty-first century sophistication upon what we are viewing. Instead, we must accept any film on its own terms, understanding the era in which it was conceived, so much as we might be able. To do otherwise will almost invariably diminish the cinematic experience; we must allow a film to "wash over" us. In defense of C.B.deMille, I must cite that so many of the scenes...Read more ›
the print isn't especially in mint condition. i recently bought the Pre-Code
Hollywood set also from Universal Home Video and films in this set looked
much better. this is particulary surprising since the films in the boxed
set are older than CLEOPATRA. With all the digital technology available
today the 75th Anniversary Edition of Demille's 1934 Oscar winning film
could have looked a hell of a lot better.
What baffles me the most is that the famous ten minute short "The Hollywood You Never See" which is a behind the scenes look at the filming Cleopatra with DeMille, Colbert and other members of the cast and crew wasn't an extra. It's quite interesting.
Claudette Colbert portrays her with just the right amount of aplomb to make the character interesting, even though much of the dialogue is enough to give you a case of the giggles! I'm sure there were audiences at the time of it's initial release that thought the script was campy, long before "Campy" was in our dictionary. Henry Wilcoxon, who would become a DeMille regular, plays Marc Antony. Henry was not that good of an actor, and he has two facial expressions in this, stern, and not so stern. But he and Colbert looked good together, and I guess that was what DeMille wanted.
I gave it 4 stars because this movie is so much fun, and despite it's flaws, it's immensely watchable! And yes, the film definitely shows it's age, but that's also part of the fun. So if you're viewing it for Claudette, or for the spectacle, you're going to be entertained either way!
P.S. The print is in good condition considering it's age!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very good film. Love Claudette Colbert. Too bad Hollywood had to play around with history, though.Published 4 months ago by Michael Richards
I watched it last night. I enjoy the classics much more than the more recent versions. Cecil Demille will be missed... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Stephanie A. Banks
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