Production is well-stacked with solid values in every department except for the screenplay, which falls short in its attempt to stretch an unsubstantial story line over so long a running time.
Production is well-stacked with solid values in every department except for the screenplay, which falls short in its attempt to stretch an unsubstantial story line over so long a running time.Pulling the full weight of the pic practically single-handedly, Merle Oberon in the central role of the femme fatale scores a personal triumph. Two male vis-a-vis register less successfully. George Brent, playing the part-time husband and full-time Egyptologist, walks through his part with a wooden gait and frozen expression that fails to evoke the needed sympathy. Charles Korvin, as the Egyptian roue, complete with fez and corny romantic patter, lacks the polish and assurance for his role, and too frequently substitutes a sophomoric leer for heartbreak brutality. In a minor role as family doctor and adviser, Paul Lukas contributes heavily. Story [based on Robert Hichens’ novel, Bella Donna] is located in Egypt, where Brent, newly married to Oberon, is engaged in a British museum expedition. Overcome by boredom while her husband is out digging for a mummy, Oberon, already with a shady past containing several divorces, gets mixed up with an Egyptian dandy in a full-blown love affair.
Universal. Director Irving Pichel; Producer Edward Small; Screenplay Robert Thoeren; Camera Lucien Ballard; Editor Ernest Nims; Music Daniele Amfitheatrof; Art Director Bernard Herzbrun
(B&W) Extract of a review from 1946. Running time: 98 MIN.
Merle Oberon George Brent Charles Korvin Paul Lukas Lenore Ulric Ludwig Stossel