“Cleopatra” (1934) w/ Claudette Colbert – 4/10/2018

Very unexpected (well, perhaps not, as it's been available in the UK for a few years) yet still very welcome. 3 Stars

Universal will release Cleopatra (1934) starring Claudette Colbert on Blu-ray on April 10, 2018. Very unexpected (well, perhaps not, as it’s been available in the UK for a few years) yet still very welcome.

Special features:

  • Feature Commentary with Filmmaker F.X. Feeney
  • Claudette Colbert: Queen of the Silver Screen
  • Cecil B. DeMille: Hollywood’s Epic Director
  • Forbidden Film: The Production Code Era
  • Theatrical Trailer

Universal, if I’m not being too greedy, can we have The Heiress with de Havilland and Clift next?

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70 Comments

  1. atfree

    Amazed….stunned….what was the last pre-1970 film Universal released on BD themselves (not through Shout or another licensee)? I honestly can't remember..

    Marx Bros, Hitchcock … and the horror titles and the George Kennedy Spartacus (2X) 😉

  2. B-ROLL

    Marx Bros, Hitchcock … and the horror titles and the George Kennedy Spartacus (2X) 😉

    I always forget about the horror collections, which they do release regularly (including It Came From Outer Space and The Ghost and Mr Chicken in 2016). In looking, outside of the Marx Brothers set in October of 2016, their last pre-1970 non-horror release in the US was the Doris Day and Rock Hudson Romantic Comedy Collection in April of 2016.

  3. I think DeMille's greatest movie from the 1930s is The Plainsman, starring Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur.

    But yes, the 1934 Cleopatra is most welcome, esp. with those nice special features. I wonder if they've done a new scan from the negative (if it exists)?

  4. Thomas T

    I'll definitely be picking this up but Claudette Colbert is my least favorite Cleopatra. I much prefer Elizabeth Taylor and Vivien Leigh. Colbert's Cleo seems more matronly than femme fatale.

    [​IMG]

    because that outfit just screams matronly woman, LOL

    RichMurphy

    I hope they can correct the spelling of Adolph Zukor's name on the back label before the release date. Maybe they were thinking he was related to the Zucker brothers. :laugh:

    what, this isn't a late 70's early 80" comedy?

  5. Andrew Budgell

    As per Amazon, Universal will release Cleopatra (1934) starring Claudette Colbert on Blu-ray on April 10, 2018. Very unexpected (well, perhaps not, as it's been available in the UK for a few years) yet still very welcome.

    Special features:

    • Feature Commentary with Filmmaker F.X. Feeney
    • Claudette Colbert: Queen of the Silver Screen
    • Cecil B. DeMille: Hollywood's Epic Director
    • Forbidden Film: The Production Code Era
    • Theatrical Trailer

    Universal, if I'm not being too greedy, can we have The Heiress with de Havilland and Clift next?

    I’m not familiar with F.X. Feeney. Are his commentaries good?

  6. Cleopatra was the last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty. This dynasty descended from one of the generals of Alexander the Great, who ended up ruling Egypt when Alexander’s empire broke up. Like Alexander, Ptolemy I was Macedonian (that is, from northwestern Greece). We’ve got Cleopatra’s entire family tree going back to Ptolemy (which is a little…ingrown; the Ptolemaic dynasty practiced royal incest, with brothers and sisters often marrying to avoid creating too many rival branches of the family), even though images of Cleopatra herself are pretty thin on the ground. And both the textual and the archaeological evidence point to Cleopatra most likely being just as Greek—or rather, Macedonian—as the founder of her dynasty.

    would have thought that Rome on HBO, was about as close as it was going to get, maybe one day it will happen again

  7. Dick

    When is someone going to make a movie about Cleopatra in which she (and most of the cast) is played by a person of color?

    I thought Leonor Varela's casting in the 1999 TV version was the best approximation so far. She was born in Chile, but her mother was of Syrian and Hungarian descent.
    [​IMG]

  8. Dick

    When is someone going to make a movie about Cleopatra in which she (and most of the cast) is played by a person of color?

    In spite of Spike Lee's claims, there is no evidence to support the theory that Cleopatra was black. At least Elizabeth Taylor looks like she could pass for Greek, not so sure about Claudette.

  9. Thomas T

    In spite of Spike Lee's claims, there is no evidence to support the theory that Cleopatra was black. At least Elizabeth Taylor looks like she could pass for Greek, not so sure about Claudette.

    At least one Cleopatra was black 😉
    [​IMG]

  10. Andrew Budgell

    As per Amazon, Universal will release Cleopatra (1934) starring Claudette Colbert on Blu-ray on April 10, 2018. Very unexpected (well, perhaps not, as it's been available in the UK for a few years) yet still very welcome.

    Special features:

    • Feature Commentary with Filmmaker F.X. Feeney
    • Claudette Colbert: Queen of the Silver Screen
    • Cecil B. DeMille: Hollywood's Epic Director
    • Forbidden Film: The Production Code Era
    • Theatrical Trailer

    Universal, if I'm not being too greedy, can we have The Heiress with de Havilland and Clift next?

    YES PLEASE!!! And HOLD BACK THE DAWN!!

  11. Johnny Angell

    I’m not familiar with F.X. Feeney. Are his commentaries good?

    Yes, I think he is fairly good. One thing he worked on was the documentary that came with the Warner boxed set The Greatest Year (1939).

  12. dana martin

    …even though images of Cleopatra herself are pretty thin on the ground.

    Very true. I traveled to Egypt in November 2016 (a lifelong dream come true!) and on my trip I visited the Temple of Dendera, which features the only wall relief of Cleopatra in Egypt. It was incredible to finally see this in person and stand in exact the spot where she would have stood thousands of years ago. Totally surreal.

    [​IMG]

  13. Thomas T

    I'll definitely be picking this up but Claudette Colbert is my least favorite Cleopatra. I much prefer Elizabeth Taylor and Vivien Leigh. Colbert's Cleo seems more matronly than femme fatale.

    Nonsense: Alma Barrie's towering portrayal is the definitive Cleopatra. Just ask Sid. 😉

    By the way, aside from the addition of French and Spanish subtitles, the Universal BD is identical to Eureka's.

  14. dana martin

    well while Universal is digging around in the old Paramount Library for items to release that have had some work done,

    may i suggest
    [​IMG]

    not one single title of her films has been released on blu ray worldwide,

    Looks like the censors got ahold of this image.

  15. Be careful to not wish too much historic veracity .

    Reconstruction of Cleopatra based on a coin :

    [​IMG]

    Nose, eyelids… Beauty today maybe it's not the beauty of old times.

    About a new blu ray, is it restored from the same grainy 35mm print from previous editions ?
    The UK looke like had a inapproprieted grain reduction, creating a weird texture.

  16. Getting back to Claudette Colbert, I thought she was indeed pretty fetching in some of her earlier movies, like "The Misleading Lady" (1932) and "The Phantom President" (1932) and such. Almost surprisingly so. I think most people are more apt to envision her from her later, much more commonly-encountered film appearances, in items like "Without Reservations" and "The Egg and I," when she'd crossed into middle-age. Anyway, I hope this "Cleopatra" release portends more activity on blu from Universal. It's a nice and unexpected surprise.

  17. Johnny Angell

    Seems like many of the biblical movies were the most naughty.

    “For some unknown reason, those critics who are striking at Hollywood seem to blame the screen for creating sex. Motion pictures cannot be made without sex. Take it away from films and you take away their very life. They must have normal sex. As I remember, this sex business started in the Garden of Eden with the act of Jehovah when he provided the apple. To blame all that on motion pictures is slightly unfair, and to blame the beauty of a woman’s body, which neither I nor Mr. Ernst Lubitsch would have the brains to create, is sheer nonsense.”

    – Cecil B. DeMille, Film Daily, August 1, 1934
    https://www.cecilbdemille.com/portfolio-item/cleopatra/

  18. 1934 was a high water mark for Claudette Colbert. She won the Oscar for Best Actress, of course, for It Happened One Night, but she had THREE of her films up for Best Picture: It Happened One Night (which ultimately won), Imitation of Life, and Cleopatra.

  19. I just saw Cleopatra and The Sign of the Cross at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto last night, newish looking 35mm prints.

    Colbert just doesn't make it in the role for me but this may be due to my recollections of her roles in later pictures such as Since She Went Away, which also had a best picture nomination and won for best score. So she had a good run of best picture nominations and a win! In some of her scenes she comes across as cunning but never, for me, very sexy.

    Cleopatra holds up pretty well for sets and costumes but Sign of the Cross really doesn't. One of the gowns that Colbert in the film wore was displayed in the Stanford's lobby.

    Regarding the discussion about having black actresses in the role, there is a very offensive line in the film with Romans suggesting she is black and then laughing about it. [From what I know, Romans were pretty tolerant about race, compared to more recent times.]

    The 1963 Cleopatra still is a fantastic picture on all accounts.

  20. If the film elements, a grainy 35mm original print (DeMille's personal print), it's the same used for the DVD and old blu ray, why people are expecting a relevant upgrade in image quality with this new blu ray edition ?

    Ok, maybe a digital clean up make it look free of dust and scratches, but this films wasn't very dirty in these terms.

  21. CraigF

    ^ I think you're thinking of the "Elizabeth Taylor version", the 1934 version isn't even set for release in Canada until April. [edit: same as U.S., I thought it was already out, wasn't paying attention to dates, already have the Eureka]

    Nope. The 1934 version.

  22. battlebeast

    Nope. The 1934 version.

    ??? US$ or Canadian $, the '34 version is still ~CA$18.50 like it was when *I* posted, and the ET version is still CA$14.97 like it was when you posted. ???

    As mentioned, I don't care, so don't answer to me, I just happened to notice the discrepancy when looking for other pre-code titles mentioned in the thread, and Cleopatra in various versions happened to come up, in that weird way amazon searches tend to do.

    I have the Eureka Cleopatra steelbook, and yes it is nice, one of my favorite-looking steelbooks, I'm not a collector of them but this one looked nice…

  23. A Claudette Colbert movie I am fond of but doesn't seem to be available is Tovarich from 1937. I saw it once in a revival house in the 1980s and I have never seen it come up again. Anybody know if that is with Warner Bros?

  24. J. Casey

    I don't think there's an official review yet anywhere, but to my eyes it's a stunner.

    I've been on the fence regarding this one, waiting on a review. I guess it's cheap enough to just pull the trigger but alas….

  25. AlexNH

    Has anyone reviewed this disc yet?

    Yeah, I got it from Deep Discount for $11.89 when they were having a sale. I haven't had time to watch it, but confirm it has plenty of bonus material including three segments and an audio commentary.

  26. Blind Buy for me. Long awaited winner for Best Cinematography; with nominations for Best Production, Sound, Editing and – oddly – Best Assistant Director. Masters of Cinema had it, but its gone (except at jacked up Third-Party prices). Thank You, Universal. We all hope to see and hear more from you soon and again.

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