Production info

USA, 1912

Helen Gardner, Pearl Sindelar
Directed by Charles L. Gaskill


Ventidius, a Roman soldier, issues Cleopatra, the sovereign of Egypt, an order to meet Mark Antony at Tarsus to answer charges of conspiracy. Antony, bewitched by Cleopatra, remains with her until he receives news of his wife Flavia's death. In Rome Antony marries Octavia, the sister of Octavius, for political reasons. Although infuriated with her unfaithful lover, Cleopatra rushes to Actium when she learns that Antony's fleet there is under siege. Because Cleopatra's navy ultimately deserts him at Actium, Antony is defeated; he nonetheless rouses his forces to defend her from Octavius in Egypt. Antony, again suffering defeat, stabs himself, and Cleopatra, rather than be displayed in Rome as Octavius' prisoner, presses an adder to her breast and dies. (source: AFI)

Early attempt to use ancient history as the inspiration for a film drama. Helen Gardner and her troupe filmed a stage production, typical for the time. The plot is adapted from Victorien Sardou's 1890's play "Cléopâtre", which on the stage in Paris starred the legendary Sarah Bernhardt.

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