6.7/10
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Suez (1938)

Approved | | Drama, History, Romance | 28 October 1938 (USA)
Ferdinand de Lesseps, disappointed in love, is sent as a junior diplomat to the Isthmus of Suez, and realizes it's just the place for a canal.

Director:

Allan Dwan

Writers:

Sam Duncan (story), Philip Dunne (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tyrone Power ... Ferdinand de Lesseps
Loretta Young ... Countess Eugenie de Montijo
Annabella ... Toni Pellerin
J. Edward Bromberg ... Prince Said
Joseph Schildkraut ... Vicomte Rene De Latour
Henry Stephenson ... Count Mathieu de Lesseps
Sidney Blackmer ... Marquis Du Brey
Maurice Moscovitch ... Mohammed Ali (as Maurice Moscovich)
Sig Ruman ... Sergeant Pellerin (as Sig Rumann)
Nigel Bruce ... Sir Malcolm Cameron
Miles Mander ... Benjamin Disraeli
George Zucco ... Prime Minister
Leon Ames ... Napoleon III - Emperor of France
Rafaela Ottiano ... Maria De Teba
Victor Varconi ... Victor Hugo
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Storyline

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 Though the production values make the film entertaining its historical content is generally agreed to be awful.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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

HE CHANGED THE MAP of the World! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

28 October 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Suezu See more »

Filming Locations:

Corona, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(FMC Library Print) | (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Microphonic Recording)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1964 producer Samuel Bronston announced a remake. See more »

Quotes

Toni Pellerin: Look! A rainbow! Oh, Grandfather says there's a pot of gold at the end.
Ferdinand de Lesseps: One end in the Mediterranean and the other in the Red Sea. What a pot of gold for the world if they could be joined: the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Look, Toni! That water in the old gulf. Just as it was centuries ago, when the Phoenicians sailed through. Can you imagine ships sailing right through here where we're standing?
Toni Pellerin: Ships?
Ferdinand de Lesseps: Yes. Not ancient galleys but modern ships, steamers, sailing a short trade route to the ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The James Dean Story (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

God Save the King!
(1744) (uncredited)
Music by Henry Carey (unconfirmed)
In the score when de Lesseps receives his award
See more »

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User Reviews

Not Perfect but Worth Watching
29 September 2010 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Suez (1938)

*** (out of 4)

Entertaining, if fairly flawed, look at Ferdinand de Lesseps (Tyrone Power) and the lose of his love (Loretta Young), which sends him off on a quest to build the Suez Canal. Along his mission he encounters political issues and a natural disaster as he tries to complete the work. There's no question that this movie was made to cash in on the wave of disaster flicks that followed the success of SAN FRANCISCO. Power and Fox had made one the previous year in IN OLD CHICAGO so they tried their luck again and for the most part it worked. I think there are some major problems with the screenplay and a lot of this is around the romance with Young's Countess Eugenie de Montijo. I never really bought her in the role and it's interesting that Young knew her role wasn't all that important so she made the studio agree to let her do her own costumes. This is important because the costumes that were designed for her were so large that many of the sets had to be redone just so she could fit through them. Her costumes certainly outshines her character and I also felt that Young just didn't feel too comfortable with the role, which I believe is the first time I've said that about my favorite actress. The screenplay also doesn't seem to know if it wants to center on the love story, the political stuff or the actual building of the canal. In the end I think the screenplay bites off much more than it can chew but there's still plenty here to enjoy. The best thing going for the film is some tremendous special effects that show up at the very end when a sand storm hits the crew as they're working. The effects are incredibly realistic, for the most part, and there are many times where you'll be asking yourself how they pulled off the trick. There are a couple terrific sequences where large drums of water fall over and take people with them that was very intense. This also leads to an incredibly powerful finale that I won't ruin but how it plays out on the love story was very effective. Power is his typical good self as he manages to be very believable in the role but he's also quite charming and he certainly knows how to woo the ladies. The real star of the movie is Annabella who is simply magnificent in the role of the girl who falls in love with Power but must sit behind the Young character. I thought Annabella did a terrific job with the accent, the charm, the flirtatious nature and she just really made a complete character and nailed every inch of it. Her scenes at the end with Power are extremely effective and really take the film to another level. As with many of the disaster films from this era (and the 70s for that matter) there's way too much story than what was probably needed but the performances and effects make this worth sitting through.


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