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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The DeMille monochrome epic looking marvelously accurate on blu-ray.
Colbert offers up a glorious, glamour-girl performance for DeMille in this trashy, opulent version CLEOPATRA. DeMille panders his audience with the kind of potboiler that generally had them lining up at the movie-palace box-office, and the film is ripe with his brand of heavy-handed entertainment value.
This blu-ray has filmlike accuracy, and is rich with the...
Published 21 months ago by Gary Vidmar

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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 30's egypt
slightly overlong with some ott acting by some this is still, by far,streets ahead of the taylor version.some of colberts costumes are very daring for the time with a 30's take on what ancient egyptians would wear(according to hollywood that is) and there are some outrageous scenes that somehow ,god knows how, managed to get past the censor (especially during the big...
Published on 19 July 2010 by R. Poole


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The DeMille monochrome epic looking marvelously accurate on blu-ray., 12 Nov 2012
By 
Gary Vidmar (Colorado Springs) - See all my reviews
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Colbert offers up a glorious, glamour-girl performance for DeMille in this trashy, opulent version CLEOPATRA. DeMille panders his audience with the kind of potboiler that generally had them lining up at the movie-palace box-office, and the film is ripe with his brand of heavy-handed entertainment value.
This blu-ray has filmlike accuracy, and is rich with the correct amount of film grain, so those in need of big, old-fashioned, silver-screen glamour certainly will relish this high-definition version of an early DeMille spectacular. US customers who wish to indulge will need a multi-region player because the discs are both region-B (2) encoded.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A radiant Colbert and a model for Burton, 19 Feb 2010
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
DeMille was persuaded to make 'Cleopatra' following the commercial and critical failure of his previous Colbert film ('Four Frightened People'); he was, it seems, advised to go make an historical epic, and make it sexy. This was at a time when the Hays Code was being introduced to cut out any morally questionable film making (no sex, no gory violence, nothing which undermined the virtues of marriage, etc.) The audience could still be titillated by historical epics, however - there was, after all, something uplifting about delivering classics.

'Cleopatra', here, is very much a vehicle for Colbert. She had had a rapid rise to stardom. A former Broadway actress, she benefited from the arrival of the 'talkies' - Hollywood scoured Broadway for stage actors who had commercial looks and voices, who could deliver a story on film. And Colbert made an immediate hit with her very sexy role in DeMille's 'Sign of the Cross'. By the time this film was released, she'd won an Oscar for 'It Happened One Night'. She was distinctly hot property, and she knew it.

Colbert is undoubtedly the star, but the film is sold as Cecil B. DeMille's 'Cleopatra'. DeMille, after all, was a superstar in his own right. This is not Shakespeare's 'Anthony and Cleopatra' or 'Julius Caesar', though it does owe much to these; it is not Shaw's 'Caesar and Cleopatra'. This is a film targeted at an American audience, delivered in American English, without any of the classical allusions or references of Shakespeare, and delivered in a language and style comprehensible to a mass audience.

Stylistically, it is pure 1930's. It may have Egyptian and Roman subjects, but the clothing and set designs, the hairstyles and images are all 1930's interpretations. The film roughly follows the historical story of Caesar, Cleopatra, Anthony, and Octavian, but without the baggage which might confuse the audience - Cleopatra does not have a child by Caesar, or children by Anthony, she is not portrayed as hated by the Roman people, there is no cultural struggle between Egypt and Rome, or between Egyptian gods and Roman ones, sophisticated political analysis of Roman and Egyptian kingship is absent. It's a love story, delivered in the exotic imagery and imagination of a DeMille movie. And, yes, it's dumbed down.

Caesar arrives to conquer Egypt. He will find himself seduced by Cleopatra. After his assassination, she will seduce Mark Anthony, the real love of her life. They are, however, doomed lovers. Fundamental plot, graphically delivered.

Colbert is radiant. Compared to the 1963 Elizabeth Taylor portrayal, Colbert is animated, energetic, dynamic, and deliciously sexy. She is far more convincing in the role than Taylor. Oh, DeMille clearly constructed the film as a vehicle for her - he gives her acting talent full rein ... she plays romantic comedy, she plays drama, she plays tragedy, she has her highs, she has her lows, beautifully pictured and framed throughout.

She enjoys an excellent supporting cast: Warren William as Caesar has real gravitas, and a chiseled granite face which looks like a sculpture; Henry Wilcoxon in turn cuts a ludicrous and a dominant Anthony - it's easy to believe that his image would act as a model for Burton, thirty years later; and there are beautifully judged performances by C.Aubrey Smith, Joseph Schildkraut, and Gertrude Michael. A strong cast allowed to play to their strengths.

We get lots of dancing girls, lots of spectacle. Well, what do you expect, it's DeMille. This is still early days - film making is still learning to adjust to the talkies and the use of sound: there are long periods of visual action without dialogue (on the assumption that audiences wanted to see a film rather than watch and listen to dialogue), there are some patches of heavily stylised and exaggerated acting reminiscent of stage or silent performances, and the pace of the film is relentlessly driven along by DeMille to ensure that the audience doesn't get bored.

DeMille frames his actors beautifully - the photography is no less exotic or colourful for being in black and white. The print quality is acceptable - it's a bit grainy at times, but contrast is excellent, and it is still a visual joy. Sound quality is fine - I didn't notice any crackling or distortion.

There are some extras offered up with this 75th Anniversary Edition - little 10 minute appreciations of Colbert, DeMille, and the Hays Code, plus the original trailer, and a commentary on the film by one F.X.Feeney. The commentary is interesting in places, but I was left feeling a more sophisticated appraisal might have served the production better.

All in all, a highly enjoyable and rewarding film to watch, the drawback for British audiences being that (at time of writing), it was only available as a Region 1 DVD, which might cause some potential viewers problems. Nevertheless, of the various cinematic explorations of Cleopatra, this is perhaps the most entertaining, even though it lacks sophistication in her characterisation, abandons historical accuracy, and simplifies the plot down to the lowest common denominator.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The glory that was Hollywood, 10 Mar 2012
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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De Mille's Cleopatra is much more fun than you'd expect, played as much for deliberately camp comedy as for spectacle and a lot pacier at 104 minutes than the Elizabeth Taylor version. Warren William plays Caesar as De Mille himself, Henry Wilcoxen plays Anthony as an oaf and Claudette Colbert takes centerstage as the kind of vixen who knows which side of the Roman Empire her bread is buttered. At times De Mille's tongue is firmly in his cheek - not least a wonderfully drawn out death scene from Leonard Mudie that wouldn't look out of place in Carry On Cleo or Cleo's spectacular seduction of Tony on that fabled barge - but there's some fine filmmaking here too, not least a great battle montage padded out with footage from the silent Ten Commandments and a fine bit of censor baiting as a foreground hand ostensibly playing the harp seems to almost paw at Colbert's body. It ain't history but it is fun. Nice score from Rudolph Kopp too.

It's worth seeking out the Region 1 NTSC special edition release which, while not overloaded with extra features, does offer a bit more than other editions: audio commentary by F.X. Feeney, featurettes Claudette Colbert - Queen of the Silver Screen, Cecil B. de Mille - Hollywood's Epic Director and Forbidden Film - The Production Code Era (the latter also available on Univeral's Pre-Code Hollywood Collection [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]), reissue trailer introduced with typical flamboyance by De Mille, and slipcase. Eureka's Masters of Cinema Blu-ray/DVD combo includes all the same extras plus a detailed booklet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really, really beautiful, 4 Jun 2014
By 
Paul Scollon (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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Forget Elizabeth Taylor and what's his face, this is the definitive Cleopatra movie for the 20th Century. The restore is beautiful and Claudette Colbert is a treat to watch on screen.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film in top quality video, 29 Aug 2013
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Marvelous picture quality of a very interesting and important fil. Especially the entrance of Cleopatra in Rome is a highlight in cinema history.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DeMille's Asp Gets a Nod from Me, 13 Jun 2013
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I highly recommend this beautifully mounted Blu-ray restoration of one of Cecil's finest efforts. The production values are top-notch in every department: acting, sets, costumes, cinematography and the music score, by the forgotten Rudolph George Kopp. You will enjoy this film, believe me.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 30's egypt, 19 July 2010
By 
R. Poole "baby boomer" (london uk) - See all my reviews
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slightly overlong with some ott acting by some this is still, by far,streets ahead of the taylor version.some of colberts costumes are very daring for the time with a 30's take on what ancient egyptians would wear(according to hollywood that is) and there are some outrageous scenes that somehow ,god knows how, managed to get past the censor (especially during the big seduction number!).a visual treat and quite a lot better than many of de milles later epics but you do have to set some time aside to watch it.NB if youve ever seen the movie sweet charity,this is the film playing in the background at the disco!
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MISSING GEM, 26 Oct 2009
By 
B. Gilbert (TADWORTH SURREY ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
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A FAR SUPERIOR AND FULLER VERSION THAN THE LIZ TAYOR VERSION
CECILE B. DEMILLE AT HIS BEST, AND AS ONE OF THE LAST PRE CODE FILMS, IT MAKES SURPRISING VIEWING
QUALITY OF THE PRINT IS FINE
A MUST FOR ALL WHO FOLLOW CINEMA HISTORY
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good for one time viewing or for serious collecting, 2 May 2010
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
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For the collector this version of Cleopatra is unique and of course adds also to the Cecil collection. It is filmed in black and white. The actors barely into talkies over emotionalize every chance they get. Cleo had to cram the rubber snake to her bosom with a stabbing force. There are a few Shakespeare quotes. And the sets are from the 30's. That may be because it was made in 1934. However I expected King Kong to come out from behind the curtain at any time.

After getting over the shock of the accents and costumes and gesticulations, it was fun to watch Cleo (Claudette Colbert) vamping Anthony (Henry Wilcoxon.) You felt like saying, "Look out Anthony!" And the battle scenes must have taken the lion's share of the budget. So try to make it past the beginning and you may wonder why it is over so soon.

I was compelled to write this review on the Ides of March.

Cleopatra ~ Elizabeth Taylor
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 29 July 2014
By 
Robert Taub - See all my reviews
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very good
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CLEOPATRA (Masters of Cinema) (DVD)
CLEOPATRA (Masters of Cinema) (DVD) by Cecil DeMILLE (DVD - 2012)
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