User Reviews (3)

Add a Review

  • Like many of Theda Bara's film, the classic "Cleopatra" does not exist in print form. We can only remember it in stills and the written word. Theda (Born Theodosia Goodman, July 29 1885) was at the very height of her fame in mid 1917, she was as a big a star as Chaplin, Pickford or Fairbanks. Fox chose this time to star her in what would become her most successful and famous film. The film was shot during the summer of 1917, and released that October. This was to be the Cleopatra to end all Cleopatra's, which meant big name casting and lavish sets and costumes. The publicity for the film began in April 1917, stating that ancient prophecies predicted Theda would play Cleopatra! The film was directed by J. Gordon Edwards, and Thurston Hall played Antony. Theda was well cast as Cleoptra, they were both about the same age when the action takes places, and Theda wore the very skimpy costumes to a "T". Fox spent $50,000 on the sets, which included hundreds of rugs, tapestries and hangings. The production employed 30,000 people with actors, extras, carpenters, costumers, and crew, as well as 2,000 horses. The film opened on October 14th 1917 in Los Angeles, and it was so successful that Theda was cheered and pelted with flowers at the end of the film. Too bad we can't see this classic movie, we can only imagine how good it was. Pity.
  • Alas the last two known prints of Theda Bara's legendary movie were destroyed in fires at the Fox studios (in 1937) and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It is on the AFI's list of lost films. There can be no voting on it. Cecil B DeMille may have been the last person to see the movie, after he got the Fox print over to his office for a private screening in 1934 before he made his own Cleopatra. The 1917 film is based on H. Rider Haggard's 1889 novel Cleopatra and the plays Cleopatre by Émile Moreau and Victorien Sardou and William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.The film stars Theda Bara as Cleo, Fritz Leiber Sr as Julius Caesar and Thurston Hall as Mark Antony. http://derekwinnert.com/cleopatra-1934-claudette-colbert-warren- william-henry-wilcoxon-classic-movie-review-2413/
  • Wearing a series of ludicrous and sexually arousing costumes, Egyptian "vamp" queen Theda Bara (as Cleopatra) forms ruling alliances and dalliances with Roman leaders Fritz Leiber (as Julius Caesar) and Thurston Hall (as Mark Antony). There are presently no known copies of this film in existence, the last having been destroyed by fire in the 1930s. The script, numerous photographs, and a small film fragment survive. The story served as a model for the 1963 "Cleopatra" starring Elizabeth Taylor. Only a handful of Ms. Bara's films survive, with her "Cleopatra" being the most missed...

    Bara rocketed to stardom with "A Fool There Was" (1915); her most widely seen film, it can most kindly be put in the "historically important" category. Bara was an immediate sex symbol. She remained one of the world's biggest box office draws through 1920, peaking in 1917 as a sexy alternative to wholesome favorites Mary Pickford and Marguerite Clark. The "Fool" formula was revisited for many Bara films, but success also afforded Bara an opportunity to essay classics like "Cleopatra", "Camille" and "Salome". Of all, "Cleopatra" would be an excellent opportunity to appreciate her appeal...

    Contemporary reviewers noted the popular star's then standard "eye-rolling" performance with some kindness. In the surviving seconds of film footage, Bara's style appears better suited to costume drama. The production was also an "epic" of the time, with a huge budget. "The New York Times" called it an "uncommonly fine picture." Tantalizing further, their reviewer stated: "From a scenic standpoint, also, it is quite a triumph for the director. The Sphinx, the pyramids and a goodly section of Rome are duly duplicated, and the larger scenes are handled in a way that suggests D. W. Griffith."

    ****** Cleopatra (10/14/17) J. Gordon Edwards ~ Theda Bara, Fritz Leiber, Thurston Hall, Henri de Vries