Marc Bernardin
September 03, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Or rather, Nipples on the Nile, for all the surprisingly sheer — especially for a mini that first aired on ABC — fashions the sultry Varela wears as the teenage seductress. Even though the grandeur of Alexandria, the pomp of Dalton’s Caesar, and the breastplated battalions in battle are all suitably epic (excepting Billy Zane’s histrionic turn as a soap-opera Marc Antony), the grand flaw of Cleopatra is Varela: While she amply conveys the tempestuousness of a perilously young queen, she just doesn’t radiate the gravity of a formidable woman on the cusp of legend.

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