Ruth Rose adapted H. Rider Haggard's novel and did a smooth job. Story blame belongs with the basic yarn and not with the treatment. There are scenes that skirt the twilight zone of the horse laugh.
Ruth Rose adapted H. Rider Haggard’s novel and did a smooth job. Story blame belongs with the basic yarn and not with the treatment. There are scenes that skirt the twilight zone of the horse laugh.In the bowels of the earth is the mythical land of Kor. Its she-monster ruler (Helen Gahagan) has the gift and the curse of eternal life. All these hundreds of years she has been waiting for her lover to come back reincarnated. Meanwhile the embalmed corpse of the original lover (whom she killed in a jealous tantrum) lies in state until his counterpart, a grandson 15 generations removed (Randolph Scott), shows up. Queenie is pretty excited and gets rid of the corpse intending to spend the next two or three milleniums with Sonny Boy the second. But she loses out to the sweet young thing from Main Street (Helen Mack) who has tumbled into the Kor country with Sonny Boy and the inevitable scientist (Nigel Bruce). The ceremonials, bacchanals, ballets and executions provide the materials for a psychopathic pipe-dream. Some of the sequences are stunning, merging sound effects, camera angles, imaginative costuming [by Aline Bernstein and Harold Miles] and Benjamin Zemach’s socky choreography. On the performance end Cahagan cops honors. It was wise casting to pick a face not well known to the screen audience. But it’s not an actor’s picture. It’s a cameraman’s triumph, an art director’s picnic and a dancing master’s joy.
RKO. Director Irving Pichel, Lansing C. Holden; Producer Merian C. Cooper; Screenplay Ruth Rose, Dudley Nichols; Camera J. Roy Hunt; Editor Ted Cheesman; Music Max Steiner; Art Director Van Nest Polglase, Al Herman
(B&W) Available on DVD. Extract of a review from 1935. Running time: 96 MIN.
Helen Gahagan Randolph Scott Helen Mack Nigel Bruce Gustav von Seyffertitz Samuel Hinds