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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 »
As he is erecting a new treasury building in ancient Egypt, iron-fisted Pharaoh Emil Jannings (as Amenes) receives an offer of a pact with wild-haired rival Paul Wegener (as Samlak). The Ethiopian king brings along his desirable light-skinned daughter to offer as a wife for Mr. Jannings. Instead, Jannings is smitten with demure Greek slave girl Dagny Servaes (as Theonis), who has escaped from Mr. Wegener and his jealous daughter Lyda Salmonova (as Makeda). Later, Jannings catches Ms. Servaes smooching with stout Harry Liedtke (as Ramphis), the treasury building worker who snatched her off the shores of the river Nile...
Jannings is so madly in love with Servaes, he spares Mr. Liedtke a death sentence in order to win Servaes' hand. You can safely predict Liedtke seeks out his lost lover. Meanwhile, Wegener is miffed at Jannings for rejecting his daughter and understandably irate when he discovers their missing Greek slave girl has taken her place in the palace. You can safely predict this means war...
This silent epic led Ernst Lubitsch's entry into Hollywood, where his films, particularly those with Pola Negri, were wildly popular. The director had a stunningly successful career. Partly preserved silent films by renowned directors are often declared lost masterpieces. Like many, this film does not live up to those lofty description, but it is still an excellent spectacle. It's also incredibly restored. There are reportedly only about ten minutes missing, with stills and title cards filling in the blanks. The bulk of the film appears to have been digitally restored to pristine condition, by Thomas Bakels and his crew. Art/set direction is outstanding.
******* Das Weib des Pharao (2/21/22) Ernst Lubitsch ~ Emil Jannings, Dagny Servaes, Harry Liedtke, Paul Wegener
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