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De Lesseps is a young aristocrat who conceives the idea for the Suez Canal. When Napoleon fails him, the British show interest. Though the production values make the film entertaining its historical content is generally agreed to be awful. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In an interview in the late 1970s, director Allan Dwan talked of the censorship battle he had with the Hays Office over the wet-shirt scene, in which Annabella's erect nipples are on prominent display. "I wanted them to show," he said. His argument with the Hays Office was, "Have you ever seen a nude woman? Ever seen your wife nude? There was nothing there that wasn't positively true to life . . . you knew she was going to be sexy . . . that's why you picked her. The audience knows. This is my idea of giving it to them. All women are alike--they can go to the mirror and see that anytime." The matter was dropped, as re-shooting the scene would have cost too much because the studio would have had to rebuild the entire set. Dwan said that his nemesis, studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck, was pleased with the picture. See more »
Probably one of the least accurate historical dramas done by the old Hollywood Studio System is Suez with Tyrone Power cast as Ferdinand DeLesseps, the builder of the Suez Canal. Any resemblance to the facts involving the canal and its construction are purely coincidental, in fact both English and French history gets badly skewered in Suez.
Ferdinand DeLesseps should only have been as dashing and as handsome as Tyrone Power, he probably wishes he was. He was never involved in any romantic way with the Empress Eugene of France played by Loretta Young. As for the character that Annabella who was Mrs. Tyrone Power at the time plays, we've sure got no basis in fact for what she does to save Power and the canal itself. Take my word it's quite the sacrifice.
The film has DeLesseps taking over the assignment his father had as consul general for France to Egypt. While there DeLesseps conceives the idea of rebuilding the ancient canal over the isthmus of Suez. And as the film's story unfolds he sacrifices everything to get it. Of course it's all fiction.
The name of Benjamin Disraeli is as linked in history to the Suez Canal as DeLesseps. But how he got involved is also complete fiction. It took place after the canal was complete and while quite a coup for the British at the time, it was hardly anything heroic. Miles Mander plays Disraeli without quite the same flair as George Arliss did nor even Ian McShane in the acclaimed BBC series in the Seventies.
But if you like historical romance than Suez is definitely the film for you.
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