(out of 5)
The ruler of Egypt (Jack Hawkins) longs to build a monument to his life that will last centuries after his death and will be impenetrable from grave robbers, and so hires a chief architect from among the conquered people he has enslaved to design and build it for him. Throughout the years of the completion of this project, the Pharaoh also takes a slave of a Cypriot girl (Joan Collins) who so beguiles him that he makes her his second wife, little knowing that she will scheme to get to the front line of his affections (and beyond). This washout, sadly misfired film by Howard Hawks was the filmmaker’s first genuine bomb and it is easy to see why. Despite the excellent attention to detail paid to historical accuracy (or at least historical splendour, anyway), and the insane amounts of extras that fill the grand vistas of some of the film’s largest shots (up to 9,000 performers in some of them), there is absolutely no dramatic intensity to the story. It plods along for two hours displaying its riches without ever lighting a single spark of conflict, and there is no chemistry between Hawkins and Collins to make it worthwhile either.
Directed by Howard Hawks
Produced by Howard Hawks
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Production Design by Alexandre Trauner
Costume Design by Mayo
Film Editing by Vladimir Sagovsky