Nathan’s review published on Letterboxd :
Ah, you found my mislabeled fetish porn tape, This Ain't "The Scarlet Empress".
For real, DeMille's sense of scale and spectacle is astounding, but wardrobes aside, where's the fun to break up the incessant talking and self-importance? I guess there's camp, sure, but always with that same stoic distance you see in so many later Hollywood epics. Nothing dark or downright weird and threatening, of the Sternberg or Eisenstein variety, just sheer overwhelming thundering awe; that interior boat scene really is one of the most remarkable how-the-fuck moments in this era of Hollywood film, but like similar moments in Griffith's Intolerance, it has hugeness and outrageousness but no discernible personality. That's left to Claudette Colbert; she does her best but does anyone really think this kind of role serves her best? In all her best scenes she succeeds because she's playing it small and natural, which might register better if DeMille had any interest in small or natural anything. That said, dialogue highlights:
- “I never hiccup”
- “I admire men who don’t love me”
and my favorite,
- “The Queen is testing poisons.”