The Ethiopian King Samlak offers his daughter Makeda to the powerful Pharaoh Amenes in order to secure peace between the two countries. What was intended as a political move ends as a debacle. Instead of Makeda, Amenes chooses Samlak's beautiful slave girl Theonis. Nevertheless, Amenes can not secure the love of Theonis as she is in love with the young Egyptian Ramphis. Having suffered humiliation, the Ethiopians declare war on Egypt. Amenes is injured in a battle and perishes - but only seemingly. The happy union between Theonis and Ramphis is in peril when Pharaoh Amenes returns to claim his wife and his throne. Written by
Peculiar alterations were made to the original German version in the Russian, Italian and US release versions: The Russian version shows the Pharaoh as a tyrannical ruler; harsh and despotic. The Italian version, on the other hand, emphasizes the love-stricken, vulnerable Pharaoh. He eventually loses his power as a result of his love for the beautiful slave girl. Presumably, this portrayal was not acceptable in Russia at the time and the film was edited accordingly. In the US release version the film ends with Ramphis's rise to power and the happy union between him and Theonis. The return of the Pharaoh and the subsequent tragedy is omitted in favor of a happy ending to satisfy the expectations of the US audiences. See more »
When he is reigning as Pharoah, Amenes (Emil Jannings) has a shaved head. When he reappears after having been thought dead, he has a full head of hair. See more »
It's hard to adequately judge the quality of this film, as large sections still are missing.
It is very difficult to adequately judge "The Loves of a Pharaoh" today. Most of this is because the film has been pieced together--much like a jigsaw puzzle that is still missing a few pieces. While the restored film is better than the insane re-creation of "London After Midnight" (where NONE of the original film exists and it is basically just a slide show with intertitle cards to fill in the gaps), it still isn't exactly complete. About a half dozen times during "The Loves of Pharaoh", scenes are missing and intertitle cards and stills are employed. Because of this, I am choosing not to give a numerical score for the film.
The story is set in ancient Egypt and I'd sure love to know exactly where it was filmed. According to IMDb, it was filmed in Berlin--but what about the desert scenes with huge dunes--they sure don't look like Berlin!
It begins with the king of Ethiopia pledging his daughter to the Pharaoh in order to cement an alliance. However, soon after, the Ethiopian princess' slave, Theonis, is spirited away by the rather dumb Ramphis. When Ramphis and Theonis are caught hiding in the Pharaoh's treasury, they are sentenced to death. But, inexplicably, the Pharaoh is so smitten with Theonis that he agrees to instead send Ramphis to work as a slave and marries Theonis. Considering he doesn't know this woman at all AND marrying her would bring on a war with Ethiopia, Pharaoh's behaviors seem irrational and silly. Just what happens next? See this epic silent and find out for yourself.
While the acting and style of the film is rather dated (even compared to other silents), the film is still rather impressive. It features a huge cast, terrific sets and lots of nice costumes. So, while the story is very weak and overly melodramatic, the overall look of the film is nice. Director Ernst Lubitsch clearly created an spectacle here--albeit one with a plot that needed a re-write as much of it just made little sense. Worth seeing once and a chance to see Oscar-winning Emil Jannings in an early film role as the Pharaoh.
1 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?