Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker star as a Kentucky backwoodsman and the woman who will NOT let anything interfere with her plans to marry him in this humorous romantic adventure through the American Frontier of 1798.
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Hard-boiled archeologist Mark Brandon is searching for ancient tombs in Egypt when he is approached by beautiful Ann Mercedes, who convinces him to help her fulfill her deceased father's life's ambition - to provide solid proof of the biblical Joseph's travels in ancient Egypt. As an ex-pupil of Ann's father Mark accepts and the two embark on a search for the tomb of the Pharoah Ra Hotep, said to have had some connection with Joseph. The trail to the tomb is fraught with intrigue, betrayal, murder and the possibility that the tomb itself has been emptied of all its artifacts by ancient looters. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
We are not looking for plunder. We are looking for evidence to prove our Bible.
Valley of the Kings is directed by Robert Pirosh who also co-writes the screenplay with Karl Tunberg. It is suggested by historical data garnered from the book "Gods, Graves and Scholars" written by C. W. Ceram. It stars Robert Taylor, Eleanor Parker, Carlos Thompson, Kurt Kasznar and Victor Jory. Music is scored by Miklós Rózsa and cinematography by Robert Surtees.
The earth holds few treasures which have stimulated man's imagination -
and his greed - - - as much as the tombs of the rulers of ancient
Egypt, the Pharaohs. This is the story of the search for the most fabulous tomb of them all. It begins near Cairo in 1900...
A tour of the marvellous sights of Egypt, with a tomb hunt and love triangle in the middle! That's how Valley of the Kings has often been likened too over the years, which while that has some semblance of truth, because Surtess and Pirosh's location work is that good, it detracts from the good human drama forming the narrative. There's some dastardly goings on in the mix, smouldering passions and a determination from Miss Parker's character to prove right her deceased father's notion that biblical Joseph was in Egypt at Ra-Hotep's reign. Action is not in short supply and the journey under taken by the principals is wrought with dangers of the human and nature kind. Cue sandstorm, scorpion, duel in the sand, horse drawn buggy chase, rooms of skulls, catacombs, knuckle fight on top of a statue, hieroglyphics and clues etched onto stone tablets! Everything you want for a sand swept adventure really.
Some back story.
It certainly should have been better, but there were many issues behind the scenes that didn't help. Pirosh himself felt that had he been allowed to develop the story how he saw fit then a better film would have been born out. He was being badgered by MGM chief Dore Schary, who along with his right hand man, Charles Schnee, were demanding script changes. Didn't help that there were frictions in the cast as well. Taylor and Parker had had an affair previously when making Above and Beyond in 1952, here in 54 Taylor was involved with actress Ursula Thiess, sure enough Taylor and Parker resumed their affair (one only has to see an amazing kiss scene to know this!). Thiess went off and made Taylor jealous elsewhere, which worked as Taylor left a crestfallen Parker to marry Thiess just as Valley of the Kings was being released. Amazingly, Parker would re-team with Taylor the following year for Many Rivers to Cross! Actors eh! Pirosh quit directing in 57, citing a distaste for behind the scenes power struggles as his primary reason for quitting.
Those in search of a high energy treasure hunt type picture will be disappointed here. Thought to be one of the 1954 films to influence Lucas/Spielberg for Indiana Jones, this is not frenetically paced stuff. Characters are afforded time to tell the story, the high energy points are placed selectively as the plot unfolds. But with enough twists and sub-plots along the way, the film thankfully is never dull. And of course there's the fabulous work of Surtees and Parker's beauty to marvel at as well! 7/10
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