6.6/10
3,216
78 user 18 critic

The Egyptian (1954)

In ancient Egypt, a poor orphan becomes a genial physician and is eventually appointed at the Pharaoh's court where he witnesses palace intrigues and learns dangerous royal secrets.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Philip Dunne (screen play), Casey Robinson (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A captured architect designs an ingenious plan to ensure the impregnability of tomb of a self-absorbed Pharaoh, obsessed with the security of his next life.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Jack Hawkins, Joan Collins, Dewey Martin
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In 1st century Rome, Christian slave Demetrius is sent to fight in the gladiatorial arena and Emperor Caligula seeks Jesus' robe for its supposedly magical powers.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Victor Mature, Susan Hayward, Michael Rennie
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When strongman Samson rejects the love of the beautiful Philistine woman Delilah, she seeks vengeance that brings horrible consequences they both regret.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Hedy Lamarr, Victor Mature, George Sanders
The Robe (1953)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In the Roman province of Judea during the 1st century, Roman tribune Marcellus Gallio is ordered to crucify Jesus of Nazareth but is tormented by his guilty conscience afterwards.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

After becoming king of ancient Israel, Solomon faces threats coming from his jealous dispossessed brother Adonijah, the Egyptian Pharaoh and the scheming Queen of Sheba.

Director: King Vidor
Stars: Yul Brynner, Gina Lollobrigida, George Sanders
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

After King David sees the beautiful Bathsheba bathing from the palace roof, he enters into an adulterous affair which has tragic consequences for his family and Israel.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Raymond Massey
Quo Vadis (1951)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Fierce Roman commander Marcus Vinicius becomes infatuated with beautiful Christian hostage Lygia and begins questioning the tyrannical leadership of the despot Emperor Nero.

Directors: Mervyn LeRoy, Anthony Mann
Stars: Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Leo Genn
Désirée (1954)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Merle Oberon
Adventure | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A disinherited 13th Century Saxon nobleman leaves Norman England with an archer friend to seek his fortune in the Far East.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Tyrone Power, Orson Welles, Cécile Aubry
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

US Treasury agent George Morton persuades convicted criminal Johnny Evans to help him destroy a drug smuggling ring in exchange for early parole.

Director: William Castle
Stars: Howard Duff, Shelley Winters, Dan Duryea
Young Bess (1953)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The early life of Elizabeth I, from her childhood until her accession to the throne of England in 1558.

Director: George Sidney
Stars: Jean Simmons, Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Ship's officer finds himself in command of a lifeboat full of survivors of a sunken luxury liner.

Director: Richard Sale
Stars: Tyrone Power, Mai Zetterling, Lloyd Nolan
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jean Simmons ... Merit
Victor Mature ... Horemheb
Gene Tierney ... Baketamon
Michael Wilding ... Akhnaton
Bella Darvi ... Nefer
Peter Ustinov ... Kaptah
Edmund Purdom ... Sinuhe
Judith Evelyn ... Taia
Henry Daniell ... Mekere
John Carradine ... Grave Robber
Carl Benton Reid ... Senmut
Tommy Rettig ... Thoth
Anitra Stevens Anitra Stevens ... Queen Nefertiti
Edit

Storyline

In eighteenth dynasty Egypt, Sinuhe (Edmund Purdom), a poor orphan, becomes a brilliant physician and with his friend Horemheb (Victor Mature) is appointed to the service of the new Pharoah (Michael Wilding). Sinuhe's personal triumphs and tragedies are played against the larger canvas of the turbulent events of the eighteenth dynasty. As Sinuhe is drawn into court intrigues, and bizarre secrets are revealed to him, he learns the answers to the questions he has sought since his birth. Short on historical accuracy, but strong on plot and characterization. Written by Molly Malloy

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

To Nefer, shameless temptress of Babylon, he surrendered his parents' hope of immortality! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Greek

Release Date:

17 December 1954 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

L'égyptien See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie was based on the 1945 historical novel, and international bestseller, of the same name by Finland's Mika Waltari, which was based on the ancient Egyptian "Story of Sinuhe". Ten years later, he wrote a novel titled "The Etruscan", and nine years after that, "The Roman". See more »

Goofs

After drinking poison the Pharaoh Akhnaton sprawls dead on his throne. As Sinuhe and Horemheb continue talking Akhnaton (Michael Wilding) can clearing be seen breathing. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sinuhe: [Older Sinuhe voiceover] I, Sinuhe the Egyptian, write this. In my place of exile on the shores of the Red Sea. There is no more desolate spot on earth. Soon the jackals and the vultures will make a poor meal of what is left of me. No monument will mark my resting place. I will leave only this, the story of my life. I have lived fully and deeply. I have tasted passion, crime and even murder. It is for you to judge me. You must weigh the good against the evil, the passion against the...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version of the film shown in the UK was shorter than the standard print by several seconds. Missing and apparently censored were the two shots of Nefer's head underwater as Sinuhe is attempting to kill her. See more »

Connections

Featured in Niin on ollut ja niin on aina oleva (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
An Ancient Saga as Wide as the CinemaScope Screen!
23 August 2004 | by GooperSee all my reviews

One of the most pleasurable aspects of movie viewing is to get lost in a film. To have it totally wash over you, so that you absorb it as it is, and thus, experience it to the fullest. Every time I see it, 'The Egyptian' is such a film. Over the years it is a picture critics have loved to hate. Many have thrown darts at its vulnerabilities. But perhaps it is because of the very tone the film brings with it rather than its most obvious characteristics. It is at once forbidding, remote, possibly dangerous; beware of what lies within! The haunting chords of the music, seen over the 20th-Fox logo, usher us into titles of other-worldly turquoise lettering.

Strange! Archaeological! Decadent! It is as if we are descending into some vault of antiquity, wherein might be great treasures, mixed with uncertain hazards. (One might imagine Darryl Zanuck commanding: 'Make it ancient!') Then, what a darkly dramatic story unfolds, all within the same tone set at the start.

Of Hollywood's mid-50s 'Egyptian Trilogy', 'The Ten Commandments' portrayed the civilization's sternness, the phenomenal 'Land of the Pharaohs' its nuts and bolts, while 'The Egyptian' shows it all, from glamour to tragedy, for us to wonder at.

No need to say much about the players here, but I think that, with the passage of time, Bella Darvi is being redeemed. What a perfect face for the role, right out of a Symbolist painting. If her acting does not please some, it might be argued that, in her role as a 'courtesan', she is obviously better in bed than yakking to some poor helpless admirer. I think that Curtiz captured the kinkiness of her sado-masochistic relationship with Edmund Purdom's character with aplomb, censorship being what it was at the time. Sir Peter Ustinov, in his memoirs, was pretty kind to 'The Egyptian', writing that it was 'like being lost in a huge set for 'Aida'. His pronunciation of the word 'beer' I have adopted myself ever after.(One of the film's historically accurate references: the Egyptian's invented beer!) Henry Daniell, egads, what a perfect performance. Gene Tierney, what a screen treasure. Bless DFZ for giving her this 'late' role. C'mon folks, don't be so hard on Victor Mature! He's a cheesemaker's son! Who rose to be pharaoh! Sounds like a peculiarly American opportunity. One of the best moments: John Carradine's existential observations on the sands of time. And Purdom's utterance about dwelling beyond the sunset of the world. If that isn't Grade 'A' epicness, what is?

Of course, along with everything else, the music is sublime. It is frequently noted that Alfred Newman and Bernard Herrmann created one of the screen's most compelling scores, perfectly harmonious, yet each theme is well developed, with a life of its own. Newman, pressed for time by DFZ, called in Herrmann, someone he could trust implicitly, to take up half the burden.

Benny, not the easiest guy to work with, obviously respected Newman enough to really deliver inspiring music. They alternated cues, an ingenious approach. No spoilers as to who did what here, but Benny brings an edge with him, mysterious, awesome sounds. Alfred brings fulsomeness, longing, poignancy. Both are consummately epic. Even when seen on a squeezed TV print, the effect of seeing the two composers' names side by side in the main credits, which the ultra-wide anamorphic screen could comfortably accommodate, is spine-tingling.

Leon Shamroy, the Dean of CinemaScope, does not let us down here. The lurid greens and moody shadows (probably distortions in all the terrible TV prints I've seen through the years) perfectly accompany the multi-dimensional script (by the great Philip Dunne and WB vet Casey Robinson, whom Curtiz must've brought with him to 20th). How remarkable it is that Shamroy, who was as much of an institution of cinematography at Fox as Newman was with music, would lens 'Cleopatra' a few years later, but in the brighter, sharper images of '60s Todd A-O. These old studio guys are really heroes of mine.

To me, who wants to fret about all the imperfections and criticism opportunities in a picture like this? I'd rather yield entirely to its spell, and dive off into its sea of lavishness, to emerge after the inspiring climax of 'The End' refreshed, moved, and hungry for more.

And yes, we should cry out to 20th-Fox for a DVD release worthy of DFZ's legacy.


66 of 78 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 78 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed