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Le legioni di Cleopatra 1959
Description: Octavio secretly sent his consul Curridio to Alexandria in a final attempt to reach peace. In the city, he meets Berenice, a mysterious and pretty dancer who falls in love. Actually, the dancer is the queen Cleopatra who leads a double life using this name.
Released: 01 Dec 1960 Director: Vittorio Cottafavi Writers: Vittorio Cottafavi (scenario), Giorgio Cristallini (scenario), Arnaldo Marrosu (scenario), Ennio De Concini (scenario), Natividad Zaro (dialogue) Actors: Linda Cristal, Ettore Manni, Georges Marchal, Conrado San Martín Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Romance
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Le legioni di Cleopatra Reviews:

The trouble with this film for English speaking viewers is that the English Language ver was slash and then dubbed in an appallingly slipshod way. If you refer to the original Italian or French versions, you search that the dialogue is much more profound and intentionally comedic in places. Most of this was steamrollered over with bland lip-fitting inanities in the US version. At one point, Curridius stuffs a bunch of grapes into a slave-trader's face to shut him up, and in the original version, comments to his mates that folks will just think he's drunk. The US dialogue has Curridius telling "Did you see his face when I offered him the two talents?" Don't blame Cottafavi for that, please.The reason the French and Italians love Cottafavi is that they are seeing his films as intended, not butchered to fit a TV screen, and dubbed with nonsensical dialogue.Also, don't forget that this was the film that 20th Century Fox purchased for a million from its producers, so they should place it on the shelf, and create sure it wouldn't interfere with the blockbuster release of its own Elizabeth-Taylor-starring CLEOPATRA. Maybe when they eventually place it out on Television, they intentionally had it badly dubbed just so you wouldn't like it.


Legions Of The Nile casts Linda Cristal a year before she made her tag in John Wayne's The Alamo as Cleopatra in this weak budget saga of Antony And Cleopatra. The storyline is said from the perspective of Ettore Manni a young centurion who Octavian has sent to Tag Antony played by Georges Marechal into surrendering peacefully. This of course is after the War of Actium.In this storyline Cleo has a double life. Someone in Italian cinema might have read the storyline of Caliph Haroun Al-Raschid known to go out among his folks incognito at night to receive a feeling for public opinion in Bagdad. Cristal gets tired of all the worship by day, she wants a tiny fun so she goes out at night. On one of her romps she meets Manni, but of course for better or worse her fate is tied to Marechal.This ain't Liz Taylor's or Claudette Colbert's Cleo, but not too bad.


This superior Epic rendition of the 'Antony and Cleopatra' affair, helmed by one of the undisputed Italian masters of the genre, is nevertheless a conceptually flawed effort: incidentally, it seems to have taken a leaf from two recently-viewed and almost identically-titled films i.e. SERPENT OF THE NILE (1953), which deals with much the same events, and PRINCESS OF THE NILE (1954) – the former in view of the Egyptian Queen's more prominent secondary liaison (not to mention, its love/hate nature) and the latter by method of her leading a double-life as an exotic dancer (for no historically valid reason in this case)! Even so, Linda Cristal's beguiling Cleopatra here is among the more sober, thus notable (if fully unsung), portrayals; interestingly, this would be bookended by her appearances in two movies which also featured Maltese hero actor Joseph Calleia, including John Wayne's pet project THE ALAMO (1960)! However, the female protagonist's relationship with Antony (an otherwise well-cast Georges Marchal) is vastly underwritten – as they barely share a stage throughout the proceedings! In fact, Ettore Manni (who had co-starred with the latter in Cottafavi's earlier THE WARRIOR AND THE SLAVE GIRL {1958}) is the nominal lead: he falls for Cleopatra when incognito, but then renounces her when he misconstrues her actions to have been politically-motivated and not genuine! To counter this, Manni is involved with a woman whom he buys (along with her brother) at a store place; the man becomes devoted to him but perishes during a skirmish inside a cave! Both girls also receive to interact (chiefly so as to intercede for the hero), but Cleopatra then can do nothing to prevent the another girl from being tortured – via the intriguing ruse of premature burial! Also on hand are a dwarf (mute this time around) and Manni's Roman henchman (who constantly makes eyes at a middle-aged but feisty tavern-keeper), both of whom had also featured in that earlier Cottafavi movie in practically the self-same roles! Despite my reservations vis-a'-vis the script (one final quibble concerns the fact that neither of the two potentates' popular deaths are shown and, disappointingly, they are forsaken even during the conventional final shot: ironically, I had commended the director for going vs the grain at just this moment in my review of THE WARRIOR AND THE SLAVE GIRL!), the technical side of production really cannot be faulted – indeed, Cottafavi's sense of composition (particularly in the handling of action sequences) has virtually no peers within the mini-budgeted arena (no pun intended)!



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