"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, October 31, 2011

Girl of the Day - Cleopatras

The Regular Family popped over to the Milwaukee Public Museum today for a quick look at the Cleopatra exhibit.   One of the features was a tour through images of Cleopatra in art and cinema through history.   There have apparently been five Hollywood Cleos.   The first, in the silent era, was Theda Bara:

Next, in 1934, an oddly out-of-place Claudette Colbert:

In 1945, Vivien Leigh took on the role.... again, odd (although easily the most beautiful):

In the mid-1950s, perhaps the oddest of all was Rhonda Fleming, in Serpent of the Nile, who looks like a Vegas showgirl playing in a camp Egyptian number:

Finally, of course, there was 1963's Cleopatra by Elizabeth Taylor:

I guess I have to say that Theda Bara is the most convincing.   All of the others, perhaps because we hear them speak, seem false, too modern.   Bara, in the silent movie, seems strangely more realistic, because she's more exotic, as in this, the only fragment left from the 1917 film:

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