Cleopatra Original Swedish Film Poster
Cleopatra Original Swedish Film Poster

Cleopatra Original Swedish Film Poster

1917 Sweden

Offered by The Reel Poster Gallery

£15,000 gbp
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Original Swedish film poster. All that remains today of the 1917 silent film Cleopatra is one brittle fragment, lasting no more than a few seconds. At the time, the film was one of the biggest, most expensive productions Hollywood had ever undertaken. Around 2,000 staff worked behind the scenes, and the surviving snippets show lavishly designed sets and elaborately risqué costumes.

The script imagined Cleopatra as a voracious seductress, and the actress chosen for the part, Theda Bara, had been groomed especially for such roles. Discovered and signed by Fox Studios in 1915, Bara is now considered the first film star whose image was meticulously planned and constructed by her studio. Fox set out to create the ultimate sex symbol, wildly blending clichés to the point of creating an exotic Oriental background for the Ohioan tailor’s daughter. Her eyes heavily ringed with black kohl, Bara became one of the silent era’s biggest stars, but found it impossible to escape the powerful but limiting image Fox had created for her. Today fewer than ten of Theda Bara’s 40 films are known to have survived in full. After the Hays Code began to take effect in the 1930s, her erotic image was deemed obscene, and the remaining prints of Cleopatra were destroyed.

These measures, however, were not enough to extinguish her unforgettable allure, and she remains an icon of cinema to this day. The Swedish release poster shows a striking portrait of the legendary queen, in profile according to ancient Egyptian custom. Its pale colours combine superbly with the streamlined geometry of the shapes. Clean lines and an uncluttered composition emphasize the strength of Cleopatra’s features. Fewer than four of these posters are known to have survived.
Excellent. This poster has been conservation Linen backed.
Height 86.00 cm (33.86 inches)
Width 61.00 cm (24.02 inches)
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