Cleopatra’s Daughter

Cleopatra's Daughter

Adventure, Drama, Romance | 109 Mins | Released: 1960
Director: Fernando Cerchio
Starring: Debra Paget, Ettore Manni, Erno Crisa, Corrado Pani, Yvette LeBon, Andreina Rossi, Ivano Staccioli
Our Rating: 5

After the death of Antony and Cleopatra, Egypt is ruled by the young tyrant Pharaoh Nemorat and his mother Tegi. Cleopatra has left a surviving daughter, Shila, raised by the king and queen of Assyria. When Nemorat conquers Assyria, Shila is brought to the Egyptian court; and, at the instigation of Nemorat’s mother, marries the pharaoh. The pharaoh, who is a mentally disturbed hypochondriac, has a good and wise physician, Resi, who falls in love with Shila, and encourages her to go on living despite the killing of her Assyrian surrogate parents by Tegi. When Shila spurns an amorous Nemorat one evening, he goes into a violent rage causing him to faint. He is then poisoned by his ambitious chief overseer Kefren and his mistress. Shila is convicted of the murder and is sentenced to be buried alive with Nemorat. Resi comes up with a plan to save Shila by having her take a drug, which causes her to lapse into a temporary coma, while he bribes the chief of the “house of death” to allow him to take Shila away in the dead of night. The chief of the house of death proves treacherous by not allowing Resi to rescue Shila, but in a struggle with Resi he is killed. Resi, though, is seriously wounded and is rescued and tended by his faithful servant, but he does not recover before Shila is entombed with Pharaoh Nemorat. The common people, who have benefited from Resi’s kind care of them, aid him in capturing the royal architect, who helps Resi and his associates, greedy tomb robbers, to break into Nemorat’s tomb and save Shila. Shila and Resi ride off in freedom while Kefren gets his just deserts when Tegi finds out that he really poisoned Nemorat: he is killed by the palace guards.

Movie Notes:

Cleopatra’s Daughter (Italian: Il sepolcro dei re) is a 1960 historical drama film set in Egypt during the reign of the pharaoh Khufu (r. 2589-2566 BC). The film starred Debra Paget and was directed by Fernando Cerchio. For some reason, the English version was translated very differently from the original Italian script, setting the film in the 1st century BC, rather than the early Bronze Age.

Minor epic succeeds in adventurous entertainment
by ccmiller1492 from Fairfax, VA -24 February 2004
The beautiful young Shila (Debra Paget) is forced into a political marriage with young Pharaoh Nemorat in order to consolidate power. However, the young Pharaoh is beset with mental illness and the marriage becomes dangerous, all the while the chief advisor Kefren (a menacing Erno Crisa) and his scheming mistress plot to destroy the unstable pair. The girl is framed for an attempt on the vulnerable king’s life and sentenced to death. Meanwhile, her sympathetic would-be lover, the handsome physician Resi (Ettore Manni in one of his best roles) concocts a scheme to save her by drugging her to appear dead and reviving her later when they can escape. However, she is sealed into her former young husband’s tomb with the air supply rapidly running out. The action plot proceeds at a brisk pace and holds viewers interest which is increased by well-acted parts with attractive players, great costumes and sets.