An X-ray machine reveals the presence of a corpse in an Egyptian sarcophagus. It is not that of the ancient high priest. Instead the body is that of the archaeologist who was thought to be on a trip to the Upper Nile, but is now found murdered. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Was the main feature at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood with The Girl from 10th Avenue (1935) starring Bette Davis and was billed accordingly on the theater marquee. A photo of the theater marquee taken at the time is in the collection of the L.A. Public Library. It shows a matinée crowd exiting to the street. See more »
The plot revolves around items from the tomb of a high priest of Sekhmet, and the statue of Sekhmet, which are found in the tomb itself. Although Sekhmet was indeed the goddess of revenge, she was not a mortuary goddess. The writers may have confused Sekhmet with Selket, who *was* a mortuary goddess. See more »
A treasured artifact from the age of the ancient Americans
This has always been one of my favourite Warner Oland Chan's, made even more suitably murky and mysterious by the passage of time and the way it's been handled since it was made.
Charlie's in Egypt to track down the person responsible for leaking valuable ancient artifacts into European collections, finding murder as well. With some fantastic atmospheric sets as backdrop and a great cast he and the ever dependable Thomas Beck act as a team to get to the bottom of the mystery and nab the culprit. Every other post has highlighted the main problem with it: Stepin Fetchit. It's a shame they put him in but it's not a problem to me as I don't watch it for him shuffling and mumbling along but for the main story unfolding around the rest of the cast. His major scenes could easily be cut out or altered to save everyone's black and white blushes today - but where would you stop? Airbrush cigarettes, smoke and alcohol, cgi over carbon non-neutral cars or low efficiency lightbulbs, even change Oland to a white Swede and superimpose a black superhero in goodie Beck's place to engage a more proactive and socially inclusive demographic, erase mention of Egypt to try to disguise the colonial connotations etc? And of course if we went that far also add plenty of mindless graphic sex and violence because that's OK in todays crazy world; the Nazis would have simply burned all the prints of this and everything considered similar and revised the history books.
With all its faults I'm grateful for what we've got some of the early Chan's are lost forever at the very least for an insight into the human mental condition as it existed in Hollywood in 1935 but more for as it exists around the world today. If you really don't like it you could campaign for its destruction, but if you like watching pre WW2 b&w middle brow detective movies containing innumerable dead people like this like me watch it without angst as a good film.
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