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The Awakening
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The Awakening (1980) More at IMDbPro »

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The Awakening -- Screen legend Charlton Heston ("The Ten Commandments") visits Egypt asan archaeologist who discovers an ancient tomb and uncovers its curse.


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Release Date:
31 October 1980 (USA) See more »
They thought they had buried her forever!
An archeologist discovers his daughter is possessed by the spirit of an Egyptian queen. To save mankind he must destroy her. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Some good ideas but increasingly silly and dreary as it goes on See more (38 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Charlton Heston ... Matthew Corbeck

Susannah York ... Jane Turner

Jill Townsend ... Anne Corbeck

Stephanie Zimbalist ... Margaret Corbeck
Patrick Drury ... Paul Whittier
Bruce Myers ... Dr. Khalid

Nadim Sawalha ... Dr. El Sadek

Ian McDiarmid ... Dr. Richter
Ahmed Osman ... Yussef

Miriam Margolyes ... Dr. Kadira
Michael Mellinger ... Hamid
Leonard Maguire ... John Matthews
Ishia Bennison ... Nurse
Madhav Sharma ... Doctor
Michael Halphie ... Doctor

Christopher Fairbank ... Porter
Roger Kemp ... Doctor
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Albert Moses ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Mike Newell 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Chris Bryant 
Clive Exton 
Allan Scott 
Bram Stoker  novel "The Jewel of Seven Stars"

Produced by
Harry Benn .... associate producer
Andrew Scheinman .... co-producer
Martin Shafer .... co-producer
Robert H. Solo .... producer
Original Music by
Claude Bolling 
Cinematography by
Jack Cardiff 
Film Editing by
Terry Rawlings 
Production Design by
Michael Stringer 
Art Direction by
Lionel Couch 
Salah Marei 
Costume Design by
Phyllis Dalton 
Makeup Department
Jan Andrews .... hair stylist
Jeanette Freeman .... hair stylist
George Frost .... makeup artist
Nick Maley .... special makeup effects
Production Management
Denis Johnson .... production manager
Ahmed Sami .... production manager
Neville C. Thompson .... location manager: Egypt
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Atef E-Taieb .... assistant director (as Attef El Taieb)
Peter Kohn .... second assistant director
Hugh O'Donnell .... third assistant director
Neil Vine-Miller .... assistant director
Art Department
Tessa Davies .... set dresser
David Fyson .... production buyer
John Roberts .... set designer
Adrian Start .... chargehand painter
Terry Wells .... property master
Sound Department
Rowland Fowles .... boom operator
Brian Simmons .... sound recordist
Hugh Strain .... dubbing mixer
Special Effects by
John Stears .... special effects
Alan Stuart .... stunt arranger
Camera and Electrical Department
John Cardiff .... camera operator: second unit
Alec Mills .... camera operator
Casting Department
David H. Kramer .... adr voice casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Daryl Bristow .... wardrobe master
Brenda Dabbs .... costume supervisor
Editorial Department
Les Healey .... assistant editor
Shirley Shaw .... assistant editor
Monte Hellman .... additional editor (uncredited)
Location Management
John Southwood .... location manager
Music Department
Nancy Beach .... orchestrator
Marcus Dods .... conductor
Transportation Department
Howard Pugh .... transportation captain
Other crew
Maurice Binder .... titles
Hunt Downs .... unit publicist

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
105 min | Australia:101 min | USA:101 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:M | Finland:K-16 | Iceland:16 | Netherlands:12 (orginal rating) | Norway:16 | Sweden:15 | UK:15 | USA:R (certificate #25893)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Ahmed Osman (Yussef) previously played a priest in Blood from the Mummy's Tomb (1971), another adaptation of the 1903 novel "The Jewel of Seven Stars" by Bram Stoker.See more »
Factual errors: When Jane and Matt discover the tomb entrance, Jane reads the hieroglyphic inscription from left to right, but the direction in which the inscription is written is right to left, as shown by the birds in it which face the start of the line by convention.See more »
Movie Connections:
Ankara StreetsSee more »


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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Some good ideas but increasingly silly and dreary as it goes on, 14 August 2010
Author: TrevorAclea from London, England

Glancing over the credits of The Awakening, you can't help thinking so many talented people, such an ordinary film. Charlton Heston, director Mike Newell (making his debut), legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff (Black Narcissus, A Matter of Life and Death), editor Terry Rawlings (Alien, Chariots of Fire) and a trio of quality scribes in Ten Rillington Place screenwriter Clive Exton and Don't Look Now co-writers Allan Scott and Chris Bryant. The latter's involvement makes you think that Nic Roeg could have really made something of the material at that time. Certainly this should have been much better than it is. It's not that it's a rehash of Bram Stoker's Jewel of the Seven Stars that served as the basis for Hammer's infinitely superior Blood From the Mummy's Tomb less than a decade earlier – producer Robert H. Solo had remade even better source material with surprising intelligence and success with 1978's Invasion of the Body Snatchers – more that it's a horror film that doesn't chill and which feels like it's only just getting down to business when it ends. It certainly has the kind of budget Hammer could only dream of, but none of the compensating imagination.

It's one of those films which it's obvious the leading man has taken on largely because he turned down a similar film that proved a huge hit and figures that he'd better not miss the boat a second time, in this case Charlton Heston clearly regretting his decision not to make The Omen. Still, at least he has the right cinematic pedigree to convince as an obsessive Egyptologist who unearths a forgotten tomb of a damned queen in the Valley of the Kings only to come to suspect in later years that the evil one's spirit is possessing his daughter, who was stillborn but miraculously came to life at the moment he looked upon the Nameless One's face. Flash forward 18 years, a couple of violent accidental deaths, a failed marriage and one wig later, and Heston's daughter is coming of age and developing some sudden mental health problems while the Nameless One's mummy is suddenly affected by a post-eclipse virus that's starting to eat it away. Reunited with his great discovery, Heston becomes increasingly obsessed with the idea of bringing her back to life as anyone who stands in the way of her reincarnation meets a horrible death… You just know that's not going to end well, but what's surprising is how sloppy it is getting to its drawn out but not especially involving finale. The editing seems surprisingly haphazard in places, with a couple of early deaths very clumsily executed with no proper build up, and only a couple of moments really build up the kind of atmosphere the film desperately needs to work. Other moments, such as one of a sleeping Heston being dragged across a room by unseen hands while Stephanie Zimbalist has what looks like either an asthmatic fit or an attempt to suppress a fit of giggles, are just plain laughable. The attempts to make the stars look younger in the lengthy opening section don't work at all – Susannah York actually looks younger in the '18 years later' section of the film – and Heston is all too obviously giving a performance here, and it's a highly variable one at that, veering from competent to plain bloody awful.

The script suffers from too many cooks and too many half-developed ideas: on the one hand it wants to take its premise seriously, yet it never quite develops ideas that it touches upon, like the possibly incestuous relationship between father and daughter being a repeat of the Nameless One's relationship with her own father or a vaguely alluded to suggestion that it's all in their mind. Instead it relies increasingly heavily on the scraps from bigger and better horror hits. Like The Exorcist it begins at an archaeological dig and has a possibly possessed child, like The Omen it has a neurotic mother and a child who scares zoo animals plus the obligatory would-be horrible death by truck and a woman falling to her death from a window. The end result is a watchable film with some good ideas it doesn't really know what to do with but which becomes increasingly silly and dreary as it goes on. You're much better off sticking with Blood from the Mummy's Tomb.

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