Land of the Pharaohs

Draft Review by Dean Duncan May 21, 2015

I’m admiring the nerve of my grade 6 teacher Mr. Ammon for showing us this creaky old creature, the pyramidical contraptionry of which impressed me furiously at the time, while it struck me even more for the coptic chill of its eternal live burials;

These things remain very cool: in fact the film’s whole trajectory, leading so masterfully & inexorably to the astonishing sealing of that beautifully fashioned tomb, make me wonder why we’re not all watching this all the time, instead of Mr. DeMille’s wonderfully elaphantine but still really elephantine 10 Commandments;

My experience is further aided by a very nice print and the proper aspect ratio (thank you, BBC);

Why, then, is Land of the Pharaohs not more celebrated? Well, for a lot of things that I also felt to approve of, fairly unequivocally: it’s preposterous, it’s hokum; 50s-like, it keeps wanting to show us its big budget & the enormous forces that have been arrayed in order to make it; it’s got endless processions & building sequences, excessive posherie & cobras and sacrificing mothers, noble slaves passing into twilights of blindness, Joan Collins …

Have you heard of the Medveds’ former cash cow, their endless Golden Turkey discussions? This is not that: I find it dispiriting, even slightly immoral to spend time scoffing in detail at films that didn’t turn out very well; the fact is, this is a lot of fun, & really courageously vast for all that it might not have come all the way off, & it evoked & evokes w’ in me a sense of wonder, at the same time it turns my mind & I back to distant & still relevant/glorious ancient plenitudes; there are lots of different ways to enjoy things, & when the film or book doesn’t stand up, then the reader can go to work & find plenty of meaning & interest out of his or her own resources …