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Hollywood and Cleopatra:

The earliest film about Cleopatra was made in France in 1899.

The first Hollywood film about Cleopatra was made in 1917, and starred Theda Bara as the Queen of the Nile (Fox Film Corporation). No prints of this film exsist today, only stills from the publicity photos. Fritz Leiber was cast as Caesar.

Many of Bara's costumes were made of lace, which did not exist in Cleopatra's Egypt. She also wore pearls, a rarity in Egypt. Bara's Cleo wore the heavier make-up of all the Hollywood Queens.

Claudette Colbert was Cleopatra in 1934. Warren William was cast as Mark Anthong, and Henry Wilcox as Julius Caesar. Costumes for this film were designed by Travis Bolton, Ralph Jensen, and Mitchell Leisen. This film was a Cecil B. DeMille Production (Paramount Pictures).

The most expensive film of its time was the 1963 version of Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor. It had her twice married husband, Richard Burton as Mark Anthony, and Rex Harrison as Caesar. This film was produced by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (Twentieth Century Fox). Costumes were designed by Irene Sharaff, Vitorio Nino Novarese, and Renee Conley. (Meader, Edward, editor, Hollywood and History: Costume Design in Film. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1987).

Royalty and Peerage

This page is updated and designed by Maggie Sypniewski, B.F.A.
Last updated on March 9, 2007