After doing military service in the Middle East, British archaeologist Holly, his valet and his handsome young friend Leo are spotted in Palestine and approached by a mysterious oriental who identified Leo by his uncanny likeness to the portrait on an ancient coin. An adventurous search for the lost Pharaonic city of Kuma proceeds relying on a recently-acquired map. Their hasty mini-expedition reaches a hidden city where the Hellenistic age is still alive. It is ruled by the supernatural Ayesha, 'She who must be obeyed', who believes Leo is is the reincarnation she waited for all those centuries of Callicrates, a companion of Alexander the Great. She offers him immortality and to share the throne as her eternal love, but it goes tragically wrong... Written by
During the gunfight in the desert, the same Arab, wearing a striped dark red top and white pants, is shot from his mount three separate times. See more »
We must be rid of her!
I speak again, whatever risk to myself. To be rid of her would be simple, but unwise. If you are to prevail, It is the fair one who must banish her, who must turn against her. He is a man of soul and conscience. These you must destroy.
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Solid Hammer-esquire Rendition of an Excellent Book
H. Rider Haggard's "She" is a book that transcends its original intent. It's a great African adventure yarn, to be sure... but Haggard out-did his usual fare in this case, hitting a particularly resonant chord with his vivid archetypal image of the Eternal Female.
This particular film rendition similarly out-does the usual Hammer horror fare. The story is faithfully adapted from the book, with only the sort of changes that are inevitably needed to squeeze hundreds of pages of text onto less than two hours of celluloid. With no special effects or CGI to distract, Haggard's original plot remains the chief attraction, and what a great Saturday-afternoon adventure it is! Lost cities in Africa... a mysterious queen... the secret of immortality... these elements have been combined many times, but rarely any better than they are here.
Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are solid actors, and give two otherwise conventional roles a delightful extra spin. But the real surprise is Ursula Andress, who seems to have been perfectly directed: she avoids stretching her limited talents, and concentrates on looking regal and mysterious. The costume design helps; I'm not a big fan of Ms Andress' charms, but I find the image of her in that golden-feathered headdress quite unforgettable.
A word also about the music. The four-note fanfare that announces the arrival in the hidden land is absolutely perfect. No lost-civilization film should be made without it.
I keep hoping that some director equipped with both budget and talent one day delivers the screen version that "She" really deserves. But until then, this one will do very nicely.
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