Occasionally dopey (groan! those women in the cat costumes), the 1934 Cleopatra is nevertheless Cecil B. DeMille‘s not-bad historical drama about Cleo, Mark Antony and others.
Because she never truly exhibits the Egyptian queen’s ambitiousness (and is a paleface), Claudette Colbert is somewhat miscast in the title role, but not badly so. Released just when movie censorship was getting tight, the film is patently sensual. After an apparent split-second shot of her naked breasts in DeMille’s The Sign of the Cross, and then Cleopatra, Colbert, a future conservative Republican, swore off sexy roles; but there is a physical splendor, a real pulchritude, about her in this picture. Also, her acting outshines that of the other performers.