Volume 2, Issue 5 the old movie maven may, 2007 valley of the kings (1954) Valley of the Kings

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Valley of the Kings (1954) was made in Cairo with Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker and it is such an action-packed film that it could have easily been made into a serial in an earlier period.

Robert Taylor was a diamond-in-the-rough hero who had learned archaeology from Eleanor Parker’s father.

She wants his help now to continue her father’s work in finding the tomb of Im-Ho-Tep to prove that he was monotheistic.

What turns this simple story into a rip-snorter?!

(Robert Taylor as Mark Brandon and Eleanor

Parker as Ann Barclay Mercedes)
First are Robert Taylor as Mark Brandon, always a great addition to any story, and Eleanor Parker as Ann Barclay Mercedes.

Second . . . you have grave-robbers, thieves, Egyptian ruins, grave-robbers, belly-dancers, fortune hunters, thieves, windstorms, fights, grave-robbers, cynical Bedouins, buggy races, thieves . . . .

Did Maven mention dishonest store-keepers, more than enough natives for local color and Ann Mercedes’ husband who is acting suspiciously all by himself?!

(Samia Gamal in a featured role as a belly dancer. . . .

So who noticed she didn’t have a word to say?!)
And, just like Charlie Chan in Egypt, audiences get to see such Caucasian actors as Victor Jory and Kurt Kasznar made up as ethnics: Arabs, in this case.

Valley of the Kings boils down to Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker’s characters fall in love with each other as she tries to vindicate her father while her husband is trying to beat them to Im-Ho-Tep’s grave so he can make all the money off of it.

They get stuck in sandstorms, fights with natives with grudges against white men, a scorpion attack and scores of skeletons in a monastery run by priests that Ann Mercedes had visited as a child with her father.

This does not include the fight that Mark Brandon (Robert Taylor) has with her husband, Philip Mercedes (Carlos Thompson) at the shrine at Abu Simbel that involves part of the site that doesn’t exist except in a Hollywood sound set. Just imagine an opening centered above the level of the heads of the statues.

Does it stop the action?

Are you kidding?

(The Shrine at Abu Simbel as it really is—without the opening that Robert Taylor and Carlos Thompson [Philip Mercedes] nearly fall out of in the movie!)
You’ll be busy worrying who’s going to survive a Saharan wind storm, a Bedouin fight, or a fall a couple of stories to his death. . . .

Its action scenes like these that give it the flavor of an old thirteen chapter serial like Adventures of Smilin’ Jack!

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