Sophia Loren is in early bloom in this 1954 comedy, which was released years later (bluntly dubbed) in the U.S. to capitalize on her international success. Sophia plays two roles: Cleopatra, of course, and Cleopatra's double, a slave girl who spends a night impersonating the queen of Egypt. Mugging through this double act is Alberto Sordi, as a visiting Roman bewitched by the queen's lookalike. Rubber-faced Sordi, an enormous star in Italy for decades, looked like a cross between Sid Caesar and Gene Wilder, and his antic personality was given a long leash. One's enjoyment of this brand of Italian comedy depends on a taste for this kind of busy slapstick, a tradition upheld in Italy by Roberto Benigni. The silliness is certainly unpretentious, and at 78 minutes it really can't wear out its welcome. And the 20-year-old Loren looks like she's ready to conquer Egypt, if not the world. --Robert Horton
Ah, yes. I seem to recall some mention of an obsession you have about your divinity... Isis, isn't it?
I shall have to insist that you mind what you say. I AM Isis. I am worshipped by millions who believe it. You are not to confuse what I am with the so-called divine origin which every Roman general seems to acquire together with his shield. It was, uh, Venus you chose to be descended from, wasn't it?