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Serpent of the Nile (1953)

Approved | | Adventure, Biography, History | 8 May 1953 (USA)
In 44 BC, after the assassination of the leader of Rome Julius Caesar, Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and one of the highest ranking Roman generals and Caesar's possible successor Mark Anthony begin a tragic love affair.


William Castle


Robert E. Kent (story and screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Rhonda Fleming ... Cleopatra
William Lundigan ... Lucilius
Raymond Burr ... Mark Antony
Jean Byron ... Charmian
Michael Ansara ... Captain Florus
Michael Fox ... Octavius
Conrad Wolfe Conrad Wolfe ... Elderly Assassin
John Crawford ... Captain Domitius
Jane Easton ... Cytheris
Robert Griffin ... Brutus
Frederic Berest Frederic Berest ... Marculius
Julie Newmar ... The Gilded Girl (as Julie Newmeyer)


In 44 BC, after the assassination of the leader of Rome Julius Caesar, Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and one of the highest ranking Roman generals and Caesar's possible successor Mark Anthony begin a tragic love affair.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

8 May 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Serpente do Nilo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Used sets from Salome (1953). See more »


Shadows of the camera crew can be seen in the close shots of Serapian and Arsinoe fleeing in the chariot. See more »

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User Reviews

Carry on Cleo?
9 June 2016 | by tomsviewSee all my reviews

Hollywood's love affair with Cleopatra is as strong as the ones she had with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony - and just as doomed.

As for "Serpent of the Nile", maybe only lovers of bad movies could sit through it today, and for them there is much to enjoy. However it's fascinating to see a star like Raymond Burr before he became famous on television.

"Serpent of the Nile" starts with the death of Caesar, which allows Mark Antony (Raymond Burr) to follow his destiny to Egypt and Cleopatra. Fair-skinned Rhonda Fleming is a glamorous Cleopatra, although the makeup department didn't even bother to remove the cap off the bronzing cream in the pursuit of ethnic authenticity.

Along the way, Antony spares the life of Lucilius (William Lundigan), a Roman officer who becomes a friend. However, Lucilius has had history with Cleopatra and has the inside running although she does take up with Mark Antony. Eventually Antony loses his grip, giving himself over to pleasure.

After a falling out of buddies, Lucilius joins Antony's rival, Octavian, who arrives to stop the nonsense in Egypt. Finally, Antony falls on his sword while Cleopatra heads for the basket with the asp.

"Serpent" is flat looking and stagy. That's probably because much of the film looks as though it was shot in director William Castle's office where they just pushed the furniture aside and hung a curtain on the wall - the film uses a lot of curtains.

The film opens out in a few scenes, and does come to life in the big dance number. The movie doesn't seem to have taxed the research department too much except where they apparently discovered that the Ancient Egyptians were partial to scantly-clad dancing girls. In fact researchers on all Cleopatra pictures come to the same conclusion, although I can't remember ever seeing hieroglyphics that depicted things quite that way.

The dance sequence in "Serpent" seems to owe more to Las Vegas than Luxor and is a bit of an eye-opener, especially for a 1953 movie. Julie Newmar cut loose clad in gold paint and not much else - the rest of the movie has a hard time matching a performance like that.

The audacity of the whole thing is reason enough to give the film a viewing. Although it's not a send-up, in some ways it could give "Carry on Cleo" a run for its money.

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