Time: 102 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Won Academy Award for Best Cinematography. Nominations for Best Film Editing, Sound and Best Picture.
SYNOPSIS: 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.
BOTTOM LINE: Cecil B. DeMille brings ancient Egypt lusciously to life in this historical melodrama about the most infamous Queen ever to grace the Earth. Colbert is a little too American looking to be fully convincing as Cleopatra, but she sure seems to be having fun seducing every man in sight. The detailed sets and barely-there costumes raise the level of this fairly mediocre retelling of the Egyptian queen's romantic and political escapades.
Not exactly classically beautiful enough for the role, Colbert more than makes up for her physical limitations by vamping it up and playing the men for fools. Her eyes burn with intelligence and ambition, making it clear she's not just a sex object, but a woman fully capable of ruling her country and the world.
The plot is fairly superficial, touching on all the major turning points of her rule, yet focusing mainly on her love affairs with two of the most powerful men on Earth Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. She seduces both with her body and the promise of Egypt's untold wealth. Which just goes to prove that men will go along with anything if they think they're going to get laid. It's almost embarrassing how much they fawn over her.
Colbert's performance is powerful, touching and sometimes silly, due to the outrageousness of some of the dialogue and costumes. This is the Cliff Notes version of the tale and that's what keeps it from being great. There's enough story and skin to keep it interesting, but not enough depth or content to make a lasting impression.