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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 »
Massive and brilliant restoration of this once-lost film is cause to celebrate. This 1922 epic directed by Ernst Lubitsch boasts massive Egyptian sets, great costumes, a brilliant music score and several great performances.
Twisting plot entwines the lives of Pharoah Amenes (Emil Jannings), a Greek slave girl Theonis (Dagny Servaes), a hero Ramphis (Harry Liedtke), and a vicious Ethiopian king (Paul Wegener).
After Ramphis steals Theonis from the Ethiopian princess (Lyda Salmonova)and returns to Egypt, the Pharaoh spies her and instantly falls in love. But he's already promised to return the slave girl to the Ethiopian king. Pharaoh takes the woman, but she loves Ramphis. After the lovers are caught in the treasury, Pharaoh condemns Ramphis to slave work in the quarries. But Pharaoh does not return Theonis, so the Ethiopians start a war.
Before he goes off to war, Pharaoh walls up Theonis in the treasury and blinds the architect (Albert Bassermann) so no one will find the entrance. Amenes is presumed killed in battle and Theonis, technically Queen of Egypt gets to pick a new Pharaoh and she picks Ramphis. But Amenes is not dead and soon returns to Egypt to find a new Pharaoh installed.
Serpentine plot keeps the viewer guessing as the main characters are all bound up in various promises and oaths and star-crossed loves, and no one gets what he wants.
Emil Jannings and Dagny Servaes are terrific. While the rest of the cast overacts, it seems fitting for such a sprawling story set against massive Egyptian sets.
The restoration of this film ranks among the great restoration projects, and the final result, despite some missing sections, is absolutely amazing. Well worth looking for.
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