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
Marlon Brando was initially signed to appear opposite Bella Darvi in this movie. From the time of the first script read-through, the pair disliked each other. Darvi, cast as the courtesan Nefer, was also jeered by more experienced star Jean Simmons, who laughed with other cast members that Darvi was "an actress who 'nefer' was." Just as filming was to start, Brando refused to make this movie, his agent telling studio head Darryl F. Zanuck: "He doesn't like the director, he doesn't like the role. And he can't stand Bella Darvi!" Sir Dirk Bogarde was offered the role, but turned it down. Edmund Purdom was finally cast in role of Sinuhe, the physician. See more »
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 »
[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...
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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 »
This splendidly lavish film of Mika Waltari's tediously philosophic potboiler set in ancient Egypt, was ripe pickings for Darryl F. Zanuck's CinemaScope agenda.
Zanuck had high hopes for this extravagant production, including a major casting coup when Brando signed on for the lead. Alas, Brando dropped out of the project and was replaced by Edmund Purdom, whose acting is the antithesis of "the method". The completed production is more a tribute to the state-of-the-art in mid-century production values and presentation than a high-quality example of epic filmmaking. The script quality ranges from the sublime (the bordello sequences) to the ridiculous (the royal palace scenes); while the performances, even the best of them (Ustinov, Darvi, Tierney), are mundane at best. That's not to say this picture, like most epics of it's kind, isn't a worthy indulgence. It is, if only for the overbearing production design, magnificently intrusive music score (co-written by two legendary screen composers), and sheer extravagance of it all. It's all relative though, since only the largest TV screens and loudest high-end sound systems can provide anything close to the experience of the 2:55-to-1 CinemaScope ratio employed, featuring dialogue-panning, multi-track stereo. An expensive Fox laserdisc is currently the only available option for viewing this picture as closely as originally intended. It must have been quite a big deal when the movie palace curtains opened on this one in 1956!
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