Serpent of the Nile 1953

Serpent of the Nile is another version of Cleopatra. The Queen of Egypt is played by Rhonda Fleming, and with Raymond Burr as Antony.

Filmed in Technicolor

This film enjoyed something of a renaissance in 1963 – ten years after it was made – at the time of the release of Cleopatra – Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton famous version. This film was shown quite a lot on Television at that time obviously designed to take advantage of the immense publicity that the  film Cleopatra had given us.

Serpent of the Nile 1953 Director: William Castle Writer: Robert E. Kent (story and screenplay)   Stars: Rhonda Fleming, William Lundigan, Raymond Burr, Jean Byron, Michael Ansara, Michael Fox, Julie Newmar Serpent of the Nile 1953 2 This  is a low budget film but works quite well  –  Raymond Burr, who really hadn’t made his name at this stage, but he manages to impress as a drunken, weak-willed Antony, while Rhonda Fleming as Cleopatra is stunning and manages to toss in a goblet-throwing temper tantrum here and there.

Rhonda Fleming

Above: Rhonda Fleming reads the script

Rhonda Fleming 2

Above: Rhonda Fleming in her role

Rhonda Fleming plays Cleopatra as a scheming type with totally unrealistic expectations for her lovers who are entertained them with whip-wielding women dressed as Roman soldiers.

William Lundigan plays her  love interest, Antony’s associate who apparently had an affair with her years before as one of Caesar’s guards. Nobody looks particularly Egyptian, and Raymond Burr sounds more like Perry Mason than a Roman General. It’s never really made clear why he went to Egypt in the first place, except that he “likes to have Cleopatra around” while Octavian takes over where the real action is – back in Rome.

Michael Ansara is around as Cleopatra’s somewhat bumbling heavy There are some good action scenes however – one scene has Egyptians wrestling a real Bear – and another good action scene involving some daringly placed cameras under the hooves of charging horses and chariots. In among all that there are some  cheap sets and  matte paintings. And there are a lot of costumes for a cheap film.

Credit to a good script and lead performances and to William Castle for keeping it moving and colourful–something he always did.

posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comments (4)

4 Responses to “Serpent of the Nile 1953”

  1. Alan Keeling says:

    After reading all about “Serpent of the Nile”, I’m hoping this film, at some time, will be shown on the Talking Pictures channel, I’m looking forward to seeing it.

    • Movieman says:

      So am I Alan. It is not a film I know at all and yet it is from an era that I should know well, but I just can’t recall it being around at the time. I did look Rhonda Fleming up and it seems she is still alive – she was good in the films I saw her in, I always thought. Raymond Burr is playing the male lead in this – and just a couple of years later he was in The Secret of Treasure Mountain in 1956 – a film I looked for over a lot of years and in fact managed to purchase the 16 mm print and then the DVD which had not been available at all.

      • Alan Keeling says:

        Hi Movieman, I met the actor John Hart at a B-Western convention during the 90’s and he told me that he went out with Rhonda Fleming for a time, I wonder if John Hart has a small role in Serpent of the Nile.

        • Movieman says:

          That is news that I did not know, Alan. I do know that it was John Hart who took over the role of the Lone Ranger on TV when Clayton Moore had some contract difficulties with the Producers. Clayton did return to the role though- that really is the only thing I knew about John Hart really. Neil

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