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Cleopatra Details


Film historian William K. Everson once observed that the secret to the success of Cecil B. DeMille's 1934 William K. Everson is that DeMille subtly reshaped the known historical events into a contemporary "gold-digger makes good" scenario. Exhibiting the same determination with which Barbara Stanwyck sleeps her way to the top in 1933's Baby Face, Queen Cleopatra (Claudette Colbert) uses her feminine wiles to become sole ruler of Egypt. By turns kittenish and cold-blooded, Cleopatra wraps such otherwise responsible Roman worthies as Julius Caesar (Warren William, who wittily plays his role like one of his standard ruthless business executives) and Marc Antony (Henry Wilcoxon) around her well-manicured little finger. To emphasize the "contemporary" nature of the film, DeMille adds little modernistic touches throughout: The architecture of Egypt and Rome has a distinctly art-deco look; a matron at a social gathering clucks "Poor Calpurnia...well, the wife is always the last to know"; and, after Caesar's funeral, Mark Anthony is chided by an associate for "all that 'Friends, Romans, Countrymen' business!" William K. Everson's barge scene and her suicide from the bite of a snake marked two of the most memorable sequences in DeMille's career. Remarkably, for all the enormous sets and elaborate costumes, William K. Everson came in at a budget of $750,000 -- almost $40 million less than the 1963 Elizabeth Taylor remake. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:October 5, 1934


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Anne Bauchens Best Editing 1934 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Victor Milner Best Cinematography 1934 Winner


Claudette Colbert
as Cleopatra
Warren William
as Julius Caesar
Henry Wilcoxon
as Marc Antony
Gertrude Michael
as Calpurnia
Joseph Schildkraut
as King Herod
Ian Keith
as Octavius
C. Aubrey Smith
as Enobarbus
Ian MacLaren
as Cassius
Arthur Hohl
as Brutus
Leonard Mudie
as Pothinos
Irving Pichel
as Apollodorus
John Carradine
as Roman
Lionel Belmore
as Fidius
Hal Price
as Onlooker at procession
Ferdinand Gottschalk
as Glabrio
Wedgewood Nowell
as Scribe
William Farnum
as Lepidus
Jayne Regan
as Lady Vesta
Jack Rutherford
as Flavius
Dorothy White
as Dancer
Edwin Maxwell
as Casca
Robert Warwick
as Gen. Achillas
Edgar Dearing
as Murderer
Kenneth Gibson
as Scribe
Wilfred Lucas
as Roman Greeting Antony
Jack Mulhall
as Roman greeting Antony
Robert Manning
as Aelius
William V. Mong
as Court physician
Richard Alexander
as Gen. Philodemas
Eleanor Phelps
as Charmian
Bruce Warren
as Scribe


Cecil B. DeMille
Cecil B. DeMille
Bartlett Cormack
Waldemar Young
Vincent Lawrence
Victor Milner
Anne Bauchens
Travis Banton
Costume Designer