A German architect runs away with the maharajah of Eschnapur's fiancee but is caught and thrown in the dungeon, while his relatives arrive from Europe looking for him and the maharajah's brother is scheming to usurp the throne.
"Journey to the Lost City" is not a specific film by Fritz Lang but the combination of "Der Tiger von Eschnapur " with its sequel "The Tomb of Love" (both 1959), done in 1960 by American International Pictures.
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Harald Berger and his Indian lover, the temple dancer Seetha, desperately flee from the shikaris (cavalry) of Eschanapur's maharajah Chandra, who burn a whole village just for letting them pass invoking traditional hospitality. A spider weaves a web so the trackers won't look for them in a Shiva temple, but she is caught outside, he left for dead after a steep fall into a crocodile-infested water. Meanwhile his sister Irene and brother-in-law Dr. Walter Rhode, the architect who refuses to build a tomb to bury Seetah alive for scorning the ruler's love before the hospital he was asked for, guess the truth, and try to make their assigned Indian servant Asagara talk, who dreads incriminating his sovereign. She can't believe Chandra's claim Harald was killed on a tiger-hunt, and the architect finds the bloody shirt he produces doesn't have the button she mended. Prince Ramigani plots seizing Chandra's throne with rajah Padhu, courtiers and the corrupt General Dagh, as soon as Chandra ... Written by
I just watched this on DVD--I wasn't aware of two important factors when I did. One, that this was a remake of a 1938 film, and two that it was actually the last part of a typical Lang epic-length film! I wonder how both films were ever condensed into a mere ninety minutes for domestic release? What an extraordinary feat in itself!
I can see the influence on Speilburg and Luca quite clearly. This does have numerous external similarities to TEMPLE OF DOOM, as well as several motifs common to other Lang films.
There are some amusing blunders. The Priest talks about Allah, then a few scenes later, cautions that THE GODS will be displeased. Islam is monothestic!
There was a line uttered by the Priest: "There will be darkness over Eschanpur." That would have been a most intriguing title, nothing so bland as THE Indian TOMB, and would have also linked TIGERS OF ESCHANAPUR to this film. Both were released in that one 90 minute Americanized version, JOURNEY TO THE LOST CITY. As far as I could tell from this half, the city was far from "lost"! The Maharajah is proclaimed as RAJ of this state and that, master of the realms of Yadda-Yadda, and so on. I got out my map of India and was easily able to locate the areas he mentioned.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and recommend it highly, especially to those who love a good rollicking adventure. I intend to secure the rights and bring this to the screen, before all the tigers are extinct.
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