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The Egyptian 1954
Description: In eighteenth-dynasty Egypt, Sinuhe, a terrible orphan, becomes a brilliant physician and with his mate Horemheb is appointed to the service of the fresh Pharoah. Sinuhe's private triumphs and tragedies are played vs the larger canvas of the turbulent happenings of the 18th dynasty. As Sinuhe is drawn into court intrigues he learns the answers to the questions he has sought since his birth.
Released: 17 Dec 1954 Director: Michael Curtiz Writers: Philip Dunne (screen play), Casey Robinson (screen play), Mika Waltari (novel) Actors: Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Gene Tierney, Michael Wilding Genres: Biography, Drama, History
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The Egyptian Reviews:

Several folks realize it, but there was globe literature in the ancient globe before the Greeks came on the scene. Besides the literary remains that are in the "Old Testament" of the Jews, there were considerable works from Mesopotamia and Egypt. The summit of the former were the religious poetry and "The Epic Of Gilgamesh". The Egyptians produced many poems, but there main addition was a tale of journey of a traveler and physician named "The Storyline Of Sinuhe". It is from this work (actually a fragment, that we don't know the ending of) that the novel "The Egyptian" came from.The storyline is special (as is the movie). "The Egyptian" was a greatest seller in the early 1950s, and Darryl Zanuck decided to take a possibility making it: yes he wanted a showcase for his girlfriend Bella Darvi as Nefer, as well as the rest of the cast (Victor Mature, Edmund Purdom, Peter Ustinov, Michael Wilding, and Gene Tierney), but he was aware that these movies rarely made huge box office. One can chalk up this as an example of Zanuck trying something different.The number of films that deal with ancient Egypt are very small. "Land Of The Pharoahs", "The Egyptian", "The Ten Commandments" (both De Mille versions), "Moses", "Holy Moses!", "Cleopatra", "The Mummy" (all versions), "The Scorpion King". If there are 20 movies about ancient Egypt it's is tremendous. But "The Egyptian" is unique. While the second "Ten Commandments" discusses Ramses the Nice (Pharoah Ramses II - Yul Brynner) and his father Seti I (Cedric Hardwicke), and the movies on Cleopatra deal with her, several another names of ancient Egypt crop up in film. Egypt's best Pharoah was Thutmose III, who conquered most of the known middle east of the era of 1470 B.C.E. or so. No movie about him has appeared, nor of his usurping predecessor, history's first nice female ruler Hatschepsut. But the only known Pharoah who attempted a religious revolution that approached what the Jews (and soon the Christians) attempted - a kind of monotheism - is the topics of "The Egyptian". This is Pharoah Akhnaton.In reality Akhnaton was practicing a private form of monotheism that was not meant for public consumption. But it angered the priestly class who worshiped Amon, rather than Aton. Due to our uncertain historic records (although Akhnaton's official records - the "Tel-el-Amana" letters - are quite finished as far as they survive), we do not know if the Pharoah was killed in a palace coup or not. However he died, he was succeeded by a young brother or son of his whose name is better recalled than any another Pharoah except Ramses: Tutankhamon.This movie is now quite nice as far as it goes. Wilding makes a nice natured Akhnaton, who is too low to be as effective as a religious reformer is supposed to be. Mature is nice as the ambitious (and - outside the movie - ultimately successful future Pharoah) Horemheb. Tierney and Purdom do well in their lead parts and Ustinov is nice as Purdom's friend. Also nice is Ms Darvi, in a huge helping part. In a unbelievable cameo is John Carridine, as a philosophical grave robber. The movie is certainly worthy of viewing, as one of the several attempts to present part of the history and culture of Ancient Egypt.


One of the most pleasurable aspects of film viewing is to receive lost in a film. To have it fully wash over you, so that you absorb it as it is, and thus, experience it to the fullest. Each 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 movie 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 games of other-worldly turquoise lettering.Strange! Archaeological! Decadent! It is as if we are descending into some vault of antiquity, wherein might be nice treasures, mixed with uncertain hazards. (One might imagine Darryl Zanuck commanding: 'Make it ancient!') Then, what a darkly dramatic storyline 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 tell much about the users here, but I think that, with the passage of time, Bella Darvi is being redeemed. What a excellent 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 terrible helpless admirer. I think that Curtiz captured the kinkiness of her sado-masochistic relationship with Edmund Purdom's hero with aplomb, censorship being what it was at the time. Sir Peter Ustinov, in his memoirs, was cute type to 'The Egyptian', writing that it was 'like being lost in a large 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 excellent performance. Gene Tierney, what a screen treasure. Bless DFZ for giving her this 'late' role. C'mon folks, don't be so difficult on Victor Mature! He's a cheesemaker's son! Who rose to be pharaoh! Sounds like a peculiarly American opportunity. One of the greatest 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 melody is sublime. It is frequently noted that Alfred Newman and Bernard Herrmann created one of the screen's most compelling scores, perfectly harmonious, yet every theme is well developed, with a life of its own. Newman, pressed for time by DFZ, named in Herrmann, someone he should believe 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, nice sounds. Alfred brings fulsomeness, longing, poignancy. Both are consummately epic. Even when seen on a squeezed TV print, the result of seeing the two composers' names side by side in the main credits, which the ultra-wide anamorphic screen should comfortably accommodate, is spine-tingling.Leon Shamroy, the Dean of CinemaScope, does not allow us down here. The lurid greens and moody shadows (probably distortions in all the poor TV prints I've seen through the years) perfectly accompany the multi-dimensional script (by the nice 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 several years later, but in the brighter, sharper photos 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 occasions 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 could cry out to 20th-Fox for a DVD release worthy of DFZ's legacy.


The picture narrates upon Sinuhe the Egyptian (Edmund Purdom) who works as a medic for paupers and hapless . He meets a nice girl (a superb Jean Simmons) and a terrible girl named Nefer (a femme fatale Bella Darvi ; Marilyn Monroe lobbied difficult to enjoy her , but Darryl F. Zanuck had earmarked the role for his then-mistress Darvi) and an one-eyed , rascally servant (Peter Ustinov). After this , the physician saves and heals pharaoh Amenophis IV (Michael Wilding) from a lion and is appointed as a royal healer . In the palace court from Thebas happens different intrigues with the Pharaoh's sister (Gene Tierney) and the general Horemheb (Victor Mature)and the priest (Henry Daniel) , follower of ¨Amon Ra¨. As Akhenaten tried to bring about a departure from traditional religion, yet in the end it would not be agreed . After his death, traditional religious practice was gradually restored . The movie is partially based on historic deeds and loosely based on Mika Waltari's novel . It's a slice of ancient history set in 1300 B.C and the 18th dynasty : Amenophis IV (son of nice pharaoh AmenophisIII) is known as Akenaton , he was proclaimed max priest imposing a sole and only God , Aton (the sun God) pitting to priests worshipping Amon-Ra . Amenophis created a fresh town (called Ajetaton or Amarna). He was married to Nefertiti and would born Tutankhamon but Horemheb guidelines over and is proclaimed pharaoh . There is an Italian ver about related happenings titled ¨Nefertiti queen of Nilo , 1961¨ (by director Fernando Cerchio with Jeanne Crain and Vincent Price) but with lack luster and lesser budget . This adaptation by Michael Curtiz is much better with an impressive control of the crowd and scenarios . The musical score from Alfred Newman and Bernard Herrmann , two best cinema musicians is extraordinary with romantic and spiritual chores score . Leon Shamroy's spellbound color cinematography ensure the glimmer spectacle . The casting is of first range , they are mightier than the film . At a cost of $5 million, the movie took two years to research , the designers ultimately cataloging five million stuff of clothing and properties . As set design , gowns , and production are breathtaking . After shooting was completed, Fox made back some of the film's immense cost by selling many of the set pieces, props and costumes to Paramount, which then employed them in an even bigger epic, Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments . The motion picture will appeal to historical epics buffs. Rating : Nice . Well worth watching .



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