Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Cleopatra (1899, Georges Méliès)

Release LocationsFrance
DirectorGeorges Méliès
Length5 mins
Play ConnectionsAntony and Cleopatra (scene(s))


This lost film of Cleopatra's death scene is of great interest because it was produced by the pioneering French filmmaker, Georges Méliès. The infatuation of early movie directors with the Bard stemmed from several considerations, not all of them equally praiseworthy. There was a human tendency for the fledgling industry to overcome some of its disreputability by borrowing from the works of the great masters of English literature. In that sense these early silents were often the first examples of the so-called "exploitation film." With Shakespeare's prestige as high then as it is now among the general public, filmmakers hoped to bask in the reflected glory (KSR)

Description from Shakespeare on Screen : an International Filmography and Videography by Kenneth S. Rothwell and Annabelle Henkin Melzer. ©1990 Kenneth S. Rothwell. Cited by permission. — Added 2008-11-14

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorGeorges Méliès

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell