USA | 100 min.
black & white
• Beautiful new progressive encode of the film officially licensed from Universal and presented in its original aspect ratio
• Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
• Original theatrical trailer
• Audio commentary by film critic and scholar F. X. Feeney
• 11-minute documentary on director Cecil B. DeMille
• 10-minute documentary on star Claudette Colbert
• 10-minute documentary on the Production Code era
• 40-PAGE BOOKLET including 1934 interview material with DeMille, notes on the film by Craig Keller, and rare archival imagery
Cecil B. DeMille, 1934
A pre-code film that sneaked onto screens just as the censorious Hays Office began cracking down on Hollywood’s racier propositions, Cleopatra is a libertine paean to decadence and depravity that can still send a viewer’s mind reeling and pulse thumping – all courtesy of the Golden Age’s swampiest psychosexual auteur, Cecil B. DeMille.
Claudette Colbert presides over the most outrageous spectacle this side of The Scarlet Empress as the eponymous pharaoh queen who speeds from Julius Caesar (Warren William) to Marc Antony (Henry Wilcoxon), from Egypt to Rome, from war-room to bedroom… The whiff of incense permeates every scene, with each connected to the next in a veritable matrix of whips, blindfolds, and bindings – the crazed arrangement laying bare all the fetish inklings of the moving-picture dream.
Lavishly produced with some of the most inspired waxing-moon photography and unwholesome set-design to come out of the studio system, DeMille’s film is an erotic tour-de-force that obliges us to re-examine the appeal of this most popular of Hollywood directors. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Cleopatra for the very first time on Blu-ray, in a Dual Format (Blu-ray + DVD) edition.