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Cleopatra

1912

Cleopatra is a silent film created in 1912 by Helen Gardner and the Helen Gardner Picture Players. The film, in which Gardner stars in the title role, was based on a play written by Victorien Sardou. In a series of elaborately staged tableaux, it depicts Cleopatra (Gardner) and her love affairs, first with handsome fisherman-slave Pharon, then with Marc Antony. The film features lavish sets and costumes and at just over an hour, it was considered fairly lengthy.


File:Cleopatra (1912).webm
Cleopatra is a 1912 American Silent film historical drama starring Helen Gardner (actress) in the title role and directed by Charles L. Gaskill. It is the first film to be produced by Gardner's production company, The Helen Gardner Picture Players. The film was based on a play written by Victorien Sardou.<></>
Cleopatra is one of the first six-reel feature films produced in the United States.< name=wallace1></> Promoted with the tagline "The most beautiful motion picture ever made", the film was the first to offer a feature-length depiction of Cleopatra,< name=wallace2></> although there had already been a short film about Antony and Cleopatra earlier.< name=Cleopatra1910></>

Synopsis

In a series of elaborately staged tableaux, it depicts Cleopatra and her love affairs, first with handsome fisherman-slave Pharon, then with Mark Antony.

Cast

  • Helen Gardner (actress) as Cleopatra - Queen of Egypt
  • Mr. Howard as Pharon - A Greek slave and fisherman
  • Charles Sindelar as Mark Antony - Triumvir and General
  • James R. Waite as Venditius - A Roman soldier
  • Mr. Osborne as Diomedes - A rich Egyptian
  • Harry Knowles (actor) as Kephren - Captain of the Guards to the Queen
  • Mr. Paul as Octavius - A Triumvir and General
  • Mr. Brady as Serapian - An Egyptian priest
  • Mr. Corker as Ixias - Servant to Ventidius
  • Pearl Sindelar as Iras - An attendant
  • Miss Fielding as Charmian - An attendant
  • Miss Robson as Octavia the Younger - Wife of Antony
  • Helene Costello as Nicola - Child

Production notes

Cleopatra was the first film produced by Helen Gardner's production company, The Helen Gardner Picture Players, located in Tappan, New York.<></> Gardner created the company in 1910 after finding success in a series of Vitagraph Studios shorts in the early 1900s.< name=wallace1/>
The film's budget was $45,000 (approximately $}} today) and featured lavish sets and costumes (Gardner also served as the film's costume designer and editor). In an unusual move for the time, Gardner used the natural scenery in Tappan for outdoor shots in addition to sets.< name=wallace1/>< name=wallace2/>

Releases

Upon its release, Cleopatra played in opera houses and theatres. The film was also featured in a Roadshow theatrical release accompanied by a publicist, manager and a lecturer/projectionist.< name=mccaffrey></>
In 1918, Gardner filmed additional scenes and re-issued the film to compete with Cleopatra (1917 film) released by 20th Century Fox and starring Theda Bara.< name=mccaffrey/>

Status

The 1912 version of Cleopatra still exists in its entirety. Turner Classic Movies had the print restored and commissioned a new musical score for the film. The restored version aired on TCM in August 2002.< name=wallace1/> Link to video
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Helen Gardner

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