Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Monday, January 7, 2008


VALLEY OF THE KINGS (1954). Director: Robert Pirosh.

In Cairo in 1900 archaeologist Robert Taylor teams up with Eleanor Parker to find the tomb of Rahotep so that Parker can prove her late father's theories. Kurt Kaznar, as the sinister, knife-wielding Ahmed, is in league with Parker's slick husband, “Philip Mercedes,” a tomb-robber. In addition to some beautiful scenic vistas and good photography, the picture features scuttling scorpions under the bedsheets, a spectacular sand storm that seems to wipe away half of the cast, and a fist fight between Taylor and Parker's husband high on top of a majestic sphinx that ends, naturally enough, with a fatal fall. This last sequence is completely silent – except for grunts and punches – and could have used some musical background. There's also a growling, bad-tempered camel for good measure. The picture is by no means a classic, but it holds the attention and has some very good sequences. Taylor handles the derring-do nicely enough, and Parker is generally fine, although a bit wasted in this kind of material.
Verdict: Not bad timepasser. **12.

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