Top positive review
DeMille’s Cleopatra gets the masterly ‘Masters of Cinema’ treatment
on 5 February 2018
I’ve seen this ‘Cleopatra’ twice now. It’s a lavish movie that rewards repeated viewing - with its beautiful art deco sets, attractive cast; and towards the end there’s a remarkable battle scene, with a mix of old stock footage, and scale models cut with Cecil B. DeMille’s customary deluge of extras.
There’s little Shakespearean poetry here - instead we get a less formal human drama (dare I say soap opera?) with wit, humour and passion.
The style of the film is well contextualized in the informative audio commentary, which also sheds light on the careers of the supporting actors who aren’t so well-known today.
As ever, with ‘Masters of Cinema’, the film is beautifully presented (from the cover featuring Claudette Colbert on an ornate throne, to a booklet with archive photos and poster designs). And, on the DVD, there are ten-minute documentaries about the lives of DeMille and Colbert, plus another about the Hays Code and early Hollywood censorship (with tantalising glimpses of DeMille’s controversial ‘Sign of the Cross’.)
A first-rate release of an entertaining movie.