Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 1954. Twentieth Century Fox. Screenplay by Philip Dunne, Casey Robinson, based on the novel by Mika Waltari. Cinematography by Leon Shamroy. Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck. Music by Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Newman. Production Design by George W. Davis, Lyle R. Wheeler. Costume Design by Charles Le Maire. Film Editing by Barbara McLean.
Years were spent researching clothing design and architectural detail on this mini-epic set in Ancient Egypt, and it definitely shows; unfortunately, the script plays like it was purchased from a small town amateur theatre production. Edmund Purdom is a dedicated surgeon in the land of the Pharaohs whose path to greatness in his profession is blocked by his blind ambition. His best friend (Victor Mature–now does that tell you how seriously you can take this movie?) is even more dedicated to making it big: he has his sights set on the throne of Egypt. The photography is absolutely eye-popping, and Bernard Herrmann’s score is among his best, but the casting is awful (except for Purdom) and the dialogue hammy (I love it when the little girl with the Egyptian dreadlocks and New England accent announces that she wants her dad to meet her monkey before being put to bed).
Academy Award Nomination: Best Cinematography-Colour