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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

She (1935)

Two men (Randolph Scott, Nigel Bruce) travel to the Russian arctic in search of the "flame of life" which gives immortality to those who bathe in its flame. It is there that they meet "she who must be obeyed" (Helen Gahagan) who rules her kingdom with an iron fist and recognizes Scott as the reincarnation of her late lover. Based on the H. Rider Haggard novel, this lavish and kitschy adventure is irresistible. The outlandish plot, the purple dialogue, the over the top Art Deco set design, the hilarious choreography (which was actually nominated for an Oscar) etc. all add up to one crazy movie! Produced by Merian C. Cooper, who hoped to duplicate the success of his KING KONG two years earlier, the film was not a box office success but has turned into a cult film in the ensuing years. This was Gahagan's only film. She entered politics and became the victim of a rather unsavory campaign against her by Richard Nixon's camp. The underscore by Max Steiner is rather impressive, one of his better efforts. Remade in 1965 with Ursula Andress. Directed by Irving Pichel and Lansing C. Holden. With Helen Mack, Gustav Von Seyfferitz and Lumsden Hare.

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