Cleopatra DVD: Review By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

The only problem that this conniving woman has is that since she is so intelligent, she always runs the risk of outsmarting herself.
  • OVERALL
    4.5
    SUPERB
  • Feature
  • Picture
  • Sound
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
It is great that Universal has released this piece of film history on DVD.
THE BAD
Why the need for an extra piece of slipcase packaging?
THE FEATURE
For people who think that Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox are the hottest things since sliced bread, they should do themselves a favor and see Cleopatra from 1934. In this movie Claudette Colbert burns up the screen as the Queen of the Nile. Knowing that her beauty is her most potent weapon she creates a marvelous web of intrigue by playing Julius Caesar (Warren William) and Marc Antony (Henry Wilcoxon) like fiddles, as she does everything she can to consolidate her power base in Rome. She is at first dependent on Caesar but once he is killed she moves on to Marc Antony. The only problem that this conniving woman has is that since she is so intelligent, she always runs the risk of outsmarting herself.
THE EXTRAS
Claudette Colbert: Queen of the Silver Screen

I recall when I first heard about this actress in film school. The teacher merely mentioned her in passing but I knew that she would be somebody I would come back and rediscover. This featurette gave me the ability to do that as it gives viewers a run through of her career, it talks about the life she lived off screen and it shows us how she, in many ways, pioneered the idea of the strong leading lady. If you already know a lot about this woman you can probably skip this, if you are new to Claudette Colbert then I would suggest watching this featurette.

Cecil B. DeMille: Hollywood's Epic Director

Feature Commentary

F.X. Feeney does a good job here of putting Cleopatra in its proper perspective. When one takes in the sheer scope and size of this production, I truly think that they will be astounded that Cecil B. DeMille and company were able to pull off such a feat in 1934. Giving us production anecdotes, stories about the actors, and an overall sense of film history and criticism, Feeney does a solid job of making his commentary an almost essential companion piece to this DVD.

Forbidden Film: The Production Code Era
THE VIDEO
Full Frame - 1.33:1. At first I was a bit put off by this images on display. It seemed that some scenes were clear, some were overly dark and some got grainy (and even had dust and dirt on the picture). However, when one starts to think about the fact that this movie is 75 years old, that can truly make them pause and not judge the proceedings so harshly. Overall, the images looked really strong, the master print that was used to create this DVD was in great shape, and Universal should be commended for a job well done.
THE AUDIO
Languages: English and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. Subtitled in English, Spanish and French. The sound on this movie was pretty good. I had to turn up the audio about halfway but once I did that things played uniformly across the entire 118 minute film. The audio wasn't rich so much as it was big. Since I didn't watch this on my Blu-ray player, I wasn't really drawn into the experience of this film as much as I might've been. All told, the sound was good but not excellent.
THE PACKAGE
Cleopatra sits on her throne on the front of this black and gold slipcase cover. The back features two black and gold shots from the film, a description of what this movie is about, a Special Features listing, a credits list and technical specs. The packaging on the amaray case looks about the same with the only difference being that the colors are more subdued.
THE FINAL WORD
Having heard about this film for so many years, I was quite excited when the powers that be at MovieWeb gave it to me review. I love cinema and all the history that it incorporates, and it was truly two hours well spent to be able to sit back and drink in all that this movie had to offer. Cecil B. DeMille is such a giant of cinema, he is so legendary that it is truly awesome to see just how much Cleopatra lived up to the legend.

As a DVD I found that this release contained everything that users could want. The movie itself looks great, there are loads of extras and on top of that fans even get collectible lobby cards to all but seal the deal on the purchase of this DVD.

Do you like this review?

Comments (7)

  1. Vamp

    This is a most amazing movie. I've never seen Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, but I do not think her looks could outdo those of Claudett Colbert. Excellent review for an excellent movie, Mushy.

    5 years agoby @vampire2000Flag

  2. Punkpryncess

    Yea I Agree with that. Elizabeth Taylor was the Best Cleopatra

    5 years agoby @punkpryncessFlag

  3. 313td

    Nice review,but for me the best Cleopatra not to mention the best looking Cleopatra will always be Elizabeth Taylor.But that's just me.

    5 years agoby @313tdFlag

  4. Shelleynumber2

    I love Cecil B. DeMille films and this is no exception. Excellent review Mushy! I think I will have to watch this again as well.

    5 years agoby @shelleynumber2Flag

  5. ed_wood

    Good review, I'll have to watch this again.

    5 years agoby @ed-woodFlag

  6. Lock and Stock

    This was a classic, but to watch it again, i would die.

    5 years agoby @m-man360Flag

  7. RavenX5 God of Light

    DAMN!!!i havent seen the movie in ages.

    5 years agoby @hackx9Flag