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The opening title card reads: "Columbia Pictures Corporation presents Serpent of the Nile The Loves of Cleopatra." The real Queen Cleopatra VII (69-30 B.C.) was the daughter of Ptolemy XII, who appointed her and his son Ptolemy VIII to rule Egypt jointly. When her brother forced her from the throne, she turned to Rome's Julius Caesar, and with his help, overthrew her brother. She married her younger brother, Ptolemy IX, and relinquished power to him, then lived in Rome with Caesar and bore him a son, Caesarion. She later murdered her brother/husband to clear the way to the throne for her son. Unlike the film, Cleopatra did not remain continually with Marc Antony, who deserted her at the battle with the Parthians, despite her bearing him twins. They reconciled after his triumph in Alexandria, but Cleopatra then abandoned Antony at the climactic battle of Actium, withdrawing her fleet and fleeing to Alexandria. Upon learning that Octavius intended to exhibit her in Rome, Cleopatra committed suicide, probably by poison; legend says she died from an asp bite.
Among the many film versions of the life of Cleopatra are Fox Films 1917 Cleopatra, starring Theda Bara, Fritz Leiber and Thurston Hall, directed by S. Gordon Edwards (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films; 1911-20); Paramount's release of the Cecil B. DeMille 1934 production of Cleopatra, starring Claudette Colbert, Warren Williams and Henry Wilcoxon (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films; 1931-40); and Twentieth Century-Fox's 1963 production, also entitled Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films; 1961-70).