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The Egyptian on TCM Sat. 8/1. How'd that happen?


Swithin
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The Egyptian is my favorite epic. I was taken to see it as a child, forgot the name of the movie, but for years had an occasional dream about a man with an eye patch taking off the patch, plucking a ruby out of his eye socket, and buying passage on a ship for himself and a little boy. Years later, I saw The Egyptian on television and realized that was the movie. I find it an incredible movie -- as accurate to the style of the time as it could be, with a literate script and excellent performances by actors who speak in that heightened style appropriate to epics. The music by Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Newman is sublime.

 

Fox Movie Channel finally showed the film a few years ago, and I DVR'd it, but it wasn't in HD. They showed it again, and it was in HD. It's glorious. I recently showed friends the scene in which the W h o r e  of Bablyon (Bella Darvi) meets Sinuhe (Edmund Purdom). They were entranced. The quality of the dialogue, the delicacy of the performances, and the design of the scene (those blues!) are amazing. 

 

I'm glad the film has found its way to TCM. It's listed as 139 minutes, same as on Fox. But I will record it and compare.

 

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Ah, that explains why TCM is showing it. Tierney is very good, as they all are. Judith Evelyn has that epic-acting style down pat in her big scene ("Go now, you weary me"). It's a remarkably interesting depiction of the story of Akhenaten conflated with that of Sinuhe, based on an ancient Egyptian story and a modern novel by Mika Waltari.

 

Although much of the appeal is in the compelling story and literate script, a great deal has been written about the attempts at accuracy of design, although in the context of this week's news I'm not sure the lion scenes would be appreciated, though that wicked lion near the beginning of the film was about to attack Pharaoh.

 

"As noted by contemporary and modern sources, extensive research was conducted by Frances Richardson and Gertrude Kingston to ensure the film’s authenticity. The pair consulted more than 260 historical volumes and helped to obtain approximately five million objects, such as costumes and props, to be copied for filming. Twenty museums loaned items to the studio for copying. According to a program for the picture’s opening, technical advisor Elizabeth Riefstahl, who was the Assistant Curator of Egyptology at the Brooklyn Museum, helped to authenticate the sixty-seven sets and thousands of props, costumes and pieces of jewelry. In praising the picture’s historical accuracy, the HR reviewer commented: “The technical research is so exact that even the lions, in the exciting hunting sequence, have their manes dyed black to reproduce the now extinct breed of Upper Egypt.” HR and DV news items reported that background footage and the film's prolog were shot in Egypt, and that the lion hunting sequence was filmed on location at Red Rock Canyon, CA.

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The Egyptian is my favorite epic. I was taken to see it as a child, forgot the name of the movie, but for years had an occasional dream about a man with an eye patch taking off the patch, plucking a ruby out of his eye socket, and buying passage on a ship for himself and a little boy. Years later, I saw The Egyptian on television and realized that was the movie. I find it an incredible movie -- as accurate to the style of the time as it could be, with a literate script and excellent performances by actors who speak in that heightened style appropriate to epics. The music by Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Newman is sublime.

 

Fox Movie Channel finally showed the film a few years ago, and I DVR'd it, but it wasn't in HD. They showed it again, and it was in HD. It's glorious. I recently showed friends the scene in which the W h o r e  of Bablyon (Bella Darvi) meets Sinuhe (Edmund Purdom). They were entranced. The quality of the dialogue, the delicacy of the performances, and the design of the scene (those blues!) are amazing. 

 

I'm glad the film has found its way to TCM. It's listed as 139 minutes, same as on Fox. But I will record it and compare.

 

pic43.png

 

egyptian+09.jpg

 

6093055153_460f9c1442_b.jpgwwd7hktsmbkfaq76qsmk.png9npafwwyn6flnoxmdy2g.png4438_5.jpg001eeceb_medium.jpeg

it's a great film and I always watch it. it's visual opulence is on a par with DeMille's The Ten Commandments.

 

this film is also notable for history's first put-down of twittering by horum-hep. (victor mature) :lol:

 

watch for it in the tavern during horum-hep and sinoray's all-nite bender to commemorate the old pharaoh's passing.  :D  . .

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I came in during the middle of this.  I'll have to wait and see if it is ever shown again, but I was left with the impression I got that Henry Daniell looked like his head was shaved, not just covered up with a bald cap. And, the time it took Peter U. to take out the ruby! He made the most of that. I see how that would be a memorable scene for a kid.

 

Early Saturday mornings aren't the best epic times for me.

 

The Egyptian is my favorite epic. I was taken to see it as a child, forgot the name of the movie, but for years had an occasional dream about a man with an eye patch taking off the patch, plucking a ruby out of his eye socket, and buying passage on a ship for himself and a little boy. Years later, I saw The Egyptian on television and realized that was the movie. I find it an incredible movie -- as accurate to the style of the time as it could be, with a literate script and excellent performances by actors who speak in that heightened style appropriate to epics. The music by Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Newman is sublime.

 

Fox Movie Channel finally showed the film a few years ago, and I DVR'd it, but it wasn't in HD. They showed it again, and it was in HD. It's glorious. I recently showed friends the scene in which the W h o r e  of Bablyon (Bella Darvi) meets Sinuhe (Edmund Purdom). They were entranced. The quality of the dialogue, the delicacy of the performances, and the design of the scene (those blues!) are amazing. 

 

I'm glad the film has found its way to TCM. It's listed as 139 minutes, same as on Fox. But I will record it and compare.

 

pic43.png

 

egyptian+09.jpg

 

6093055153_460f9c1442_b.jpgwwd7hktsmbkfaq76qsmk.png9npafwwyn6flnoxmdy2g.png4438_5.jpg001eeceb_medium.jpeg

 

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SWITHIN: "although in the context of this week's news I'm not sure the lion scenes would be appreciated, though that wicked lion near the beginning of the film was about to attack Pharaoh.  (end quote)

 

I know right!

 

This Lion also seemed to have a black mane as well. Eerie.

 

I will, however add that that scene was really well done and far better nad more believable than the scene where Victor Mature has to make like Bela Lugosi with the Octopus with a lion skin rug in SAMSON AND DELILILAH.

 

 

 

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btw,

 

thanks for starting this thread. i have ten million things i need to be doing today and instead, I watched a good part of THE EGYPTIAN before I JUST HAD to start getting some work done.

 

I have to admit I am not terribly partial to a lot of the technicolor religious EPICS of the fifties, but this one hooked me in. Aside from the weakness of the male lead**...who I didnt recognize, it was a big, bright Jolly Rancher candy cube of a movie- just brilliant colors everywhere and pretty fun to watch...Michael Curtiz didn't always make great films, but with rare exception, they are by and large not boring- things are always moving moving moving in a Curtiz film.

 

John Carradine was wonderful in a small part in a wonderful scene, talking grains of sand outliving us all, shatterng the superstitious faith of the Hero who- correct me if I am wrong- is Moses?

 

(Like I said I couldn't finish it. And I don't have DVR.)

 

** i IMDB'D it. It's Michael Wilding. Makes sense.

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FROM IMDB TRIVIA SECTION:

 

Marlon Brando was initially signed to appear opposite Bella Darvi in the film. From the time of the first script read-through, the pair disliked each other. Darvi, cast as the courtesan Nefer, was also jeered by more experienced star Jean Simmons, who laughed with other cast members that Darvi was "an actress who 'nefer' was." Just as filming was to start, Brando refused to make the film, his agent telling studio head Darryl F. Zanuck: "He doesn't like the director, he doesn't like the role. And he can't stand Bella Darvi!" Dirk Bogarde was offered the role, but turned it down. Edmund Purdom was finally cast in role of Sinuhe, the physician.

 

Burn.

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I too think that Tierney was "a revelation".  NEver did her eyes glitter so, did she have such a gift for sarcasm--frankly, she acted rings around the rest of the cast & walked off with the film, IMO--Victor Mature & Michael Wilding & the rest of the cast are knocked off the screen by her--please TCM, show this one again!

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I DVR'd The Egyptian from TCM/HD as planned. It looks great -- it's a bit more letterboxed than the one I recorded from FOX HD a while back, I really have to compare the two, but as they're both from HD channels, they're taking up a lot of space on my DVR!

 

I think Tierney is fine, but no better than the rest of the cast.

 

But I think TCM's HD showing exceeds FMC's. Curtiz and Shamroy sure knew how to set up shots!

 

(Btw, thank God Brando pulled out of this film. Totally wrong for it.)

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I DVR'd The Egyptian from TCM/HD as planned. It looks great -- it's a bit more letterboxed than the one I recorded from FOX HD a while back, I really have to compare the two, but as they're both from HD channels, they're taking up a lot of space on my DVR!

 

I have only TCM SD and my recording was full of little glitches and twitches and mini-pix's.

 

I've noticed that happening a lot lately with TCM content (and only with TCM!). I suspect Rogers (my cable company) is doing something wrong - probably on purpose to get me to switch over to one of their plans where I have to rent a box from them.

 

With a stupendous October coming up - with more movies I'm interested in recording than at any time ever before - I'm getting worried about the lost opportunity. I've had no fewer than 4 movies ruined by these visual twitches in the past couple of weeks.

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So -- I compared (as both were on my DVR) today's TCM screening of The Egyptian with a recent FMC screening. Both were from HD channels (TCM/HD and FMC/HD).  It's clear that the Fox transmission was pan and scan -- lots of information from the sides is missing.  Not so with the TCM/HD screening. Thanks for that!  I've now deleted the Fox version.

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I too think that Tierney was "a revelation".  NEver did her eyes glitter so, did she have such a gift for sarcasm--frankly, she acted rings around the rest of the cast & walked off with the film, IMO--Victor Mature & Michael Wilding & the rest of the cast are knocked off the screen by her--please TCM, show this one again!

 

It is one of the many sad facts in the life of Gene Tierney that, while she was still doing big movies into the 1950's, her presence in many of them is distractingly minimal. Besides THE EGYPTIAN, I can think of two other films- NIGHT AND THE CITY (which is terrific) and BLACK WIDOW (which is not)- where she appears for less than 20 minutes in each. I know this was due to her mental problems, and in many ways it was (allegedly) Zanuck trying to help her out by keeping her semi-occupied, but in many cases it is maddening- because when Gene Tierney is in a film, you want to look at Gene Tierney.

 

But- back to THE EGYPTIAN, I was dogsitting this past week and staying at an employer's house, which i HAD to get straight as they were coming back that afternoon, so I was forced to walk away from THE EGYPTIAN after an hour and some time- but I kept it on the television. Later on, I was walking past the screen and a woman was talking to Victor Mature- and her voice was so HARD and commanding, I stopped and listened and wondered "who is that?" on looking in close, I saw it was Gene Tierney.....and is there any higher compliment you can pay an actor than you did not at first recognize them in a role?

 

i'm sorry i couldn't stick around for the ending.

 

ps- it's worth noting that Mature and Tierney worked together before in 1941 on THE SHANGHAI GESTURE, which is a deliciously bad movie in which Tierney gives a fascinating failure of a performance. Mature isn't very good in it either, but- y'know- I don't think he was as bad an actor as he did. There's a lot of films where I think he's downright good.

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...although I will tack on that not only did Gene Tierney not have enough screen time, neither (at least in the first half) did Jean Simmons (who was maybe top-billed in this thing?)

 

it was very frustrating that the two weakest actors of the lot by a good margin (Darvi and Wilding) had so much screen time when pretty much everyone else was on point- right down to the supporting players (Carradine, Daniell, Ustinov etc.)

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it was very frustrating that the two weakest actors of the lot by a good margin (Darvi and Wilding) had so much screen time when pretty much everyone else was on point- right down to the supporting players (Carradine, Daniell, Ustinov etc.)

I actually think Darvi and Wilding were fine. The scene, where Darvi and Purdom meet -- that couldn't be done better. This is an extremely stylized film, requiring a very specific acting style (heightened yet understated), and I think they all did well. I think the kudos being given here for Tierney -- who is good -- are more the result of people knowing and liking her rather than from her actual Egyptian performance.

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Thanks for recommending this movie.

I had never heard of it and the Maltin review was quiite dismissive.

I watched the first half hour or so and was captivated but had to leave to take care of some business so I was recording it as well to watch later.

 

I did get back to see the ending.

*****SPOLER ALERT*****

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How did Victor Mature (as the son of the cheese maker) wind up as pharoah at the end???

I'll have to watch to find out. . . .

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Swithin--For myself, I'll say that the reason I'm giving kudos to Tierney are Equal parts of liking her & wanting to see a Really memorable performance from her, & surprised delight at her performance.  The fact she managed this in spite of worsening mental problems (she had her 1st complete nervous breakdown in 1956) increases my admiration for the lady & quite possibly impairs my critical faculties about her performance.  In her autobiography "Self-Portrait, she says she coped with her problems by inhabiting her characters.  Of The Egyptian in particular, she says she remembered little of the filming, but says she "trusts she played her faithfully".  From her performance, I'd say she certainly did.

 

Edit: HoldenIsHere; Maltin's missed a very enjoyable film.  Ignore his review.

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Swithin--For myself, I'll say that the reason I'm giving kudos to Tierney are Equal parts of liking her & wanting to see a Really memorable performance from her, & surprised delight at her performance.  The fact she managed this in spite of worsening mental problems (she had her 1st complete nervous breakdown in 1956) increases my admiration for the lady & quite possibly impairs my critical faculties about her performance.  In her autobiography, she says she coped with her problems by inhabiting her characters.  Of The Egyptian in particular, she says she remembered little of the filming, but says she "trusts she played her faithfully".  From her performance, I'd say she certainly did.

That's very interesting and actually quite moving -- thanks! I know nothing about her private life.

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Swithin & EugeniaH & all others interested in Gene Tierney--I highly recommend her 1978 autobiography "Self-Portrait--it gives a moving look at this underrated actress & is very well written--Mickey Herskowitz was her coauthor.

 

I have this book and it is a good read.   As you say very moving especially as it relates to her bout with mental illness.    

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Swithin & EugeniaH & all others interested in Gene Tierney--I highly recommend her 1978 autobiography "Self-Portrait--it gives a moving look at this underrated actress & is very well written--Mickey Herskowitz was her coauthor.

 

I might pick this up at the library, film lover, thanks!

 

Gene Tierney was my father's (born in 1928) true love - even my mother was made aware of it, lol.

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The Egyptian is an exceptional epic of ancient Egypt and it is beyond me how anyone could think that Edmund Purdom's performance has any shortcomings. his performance is low-key but tremendously heartfelt. there is so much pathos at the end after completing the story of his life for his son. and the nearby guards not knowing this dying old man was the unrecognized true son of a great pharaoh denied his heritage because of human avarice. yet learning this toward the end of his lifelong sojourn the two things that sinuhe the egyptian valued the most were truth and goodness.

 

           so aptly we read at the end:

 

"These things happened thirteen centuries

        before the birth of Jesus Christ"

 

...and Michael Wilding was damn good too. :)

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I've never watched The Egyptian, but I think I've read that Purdom & Darvi were not as dynamic as the story needs them to be. But that's the only criticism I've ever read bout it. I'm not very fond of biblical movies.

 

Perhaps the people who wrote these reviews were thinking Purdom in THIS biblical epic could have MAYBE chewed the scenery a little more...like say Burton did in THE ROBE???  LOL ;)

 

Yep, count me in with the folks here who think Purdom, and in fact Darvi, got a bum rap and were fine in their roles.

 

(...and speaking of Bella Darvi...is it only me, or does anyone else here think Darvi resembled Viveca Lindfors quite a bit?)

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