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Cleopatra (1917) was directed by J. Gordon Edwards and starred Theda Bara in the title role. Fritz Leiber, Sr. played Julius Caesar and Thurston Hall played Mark Antony.

It was one of the most elaborate Hollywoodmarker films ever produced up to that time, with particularly lavish sets and costumes. According to the studio, the film cost $500,000 (approximately $8.3 million in 2009) to make and employed 2,000 people behind the scenes. The story of this silent film was very loosely based on the plot of William Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. Theda Bara appeared in a variety of fantastic costumes, some quite risqué. The film was a great success at the time.

However, years later, with the imposition of Hollywood's Hays Code, the film was judged too obscene to be shown. The last two prints known were destroyed in fires at the Fox studios and at the Museum of Modern Artmarker in New Yorkmarker. Only a few fragments in the hands of museums survive to this day.

The picture was filmed on the Dominquez slough just outside of Long Beach, Californiamarker. The throne prop used in the movie years later ended up in the possession of Leon Schlesinger Productions, the production company behind the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons; its disposition after the acquisition of that company by Warner Bros. is unknown.


See also

Theda Bara as Cleopatra


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