After doing military service in the Middle East, British archaeologist Holly, his valet and his handsome young friend Leo are spotted in Palestine and approached by a mysterious oriental who identified Leo by his uncanny likeness to the portrait on an ancient coin. An adventurous search for the lost Pharaonic city of Kuma proceeds relying on a recently-acquired map. Their hasty mini-expedition reaches a hidden city where the Hellenistic age is still alive. It is ruled by the supernatural Ayesha, 'She who must be obeyed', who believes Leo is is the reincarnation she waited for all those centuries of Callicrates, a companion of Alexander the Great. She offers him immortality and to share the throne as her eternal love, but it goes tragically wrong...
Directed by: Robert Day
. Starring: Ursula Andress
, Peter Cushing
, Bernard Cribbins
, John Richardson
, Rosenda Monteros
, Christopher Lee
, André Morell
, Princess Soraya
, Julie Mendez
, Lisa Peake
, John Maxim
, Cherry Larman
, Bula Coleman
. Music by: James Bernard
"She" is a Sunday afternoon adventure film. It's got all of the ingredients; cheap production values, a wafer-thin plot, the same bit of music replayed ad-nauseam, and Bernard Cribbins. It's also, unfortunately, not very good, simply because it's dull. Very dull. At a 1 hour and 41 minutes running time, "She" struggles to find a way to keep its story going, and barely succeeds.
The opening scene is good for a few laughs, featuring scientistexplorer type chappy Peter Cushing and his lovable manservant Bernie Cribbins (yup, that fabulous starring duo from "Daleks Invasion Earth: 2150 AD" is back), accompanied by some curly haired twerp played by John Richardson (no, I don't know who he is either), sitting down in a bustling bazaar somewhere in Africa in the year 1918, Cushing enjoying the native dancing girls to a rather amusing degree (cue a "By jove!" or two). Watched by a not-very-blacked-up actor, the three have a chat about what they want to do now that the war has ended. The observant shifty Arab wanders off and brings back a nice looking foreign gal, and soon enough one of our British heroes (John) is wandering over to make his acquaintance and spout some dire courting dialogue such as "A pretty girl like you shouldn't be left alone in a place like this," and "Ustane? The name is just as beautiful as you are..." Soon he's told to meet her at a street corner later that evening, and so the first stage in a treacherous trap is set.
Not that you'll have been paying attention to any of this as during their little conversation somebody told Peter Cushing to stand up and do some belly dancing with the girls (luckily, unlike them, he keeps his shirt on). He and Bernard Cribbins both prove themselves to be a couple of swingers for a short time before a punch up about a kicked in bowler that gets them thrown out.
I'd just like to stress this - Peter Cushing belly dancing. Peter Cushing. Belly dancing.
Anyway, after one of the scariest moments in a British film, the "plot" continues as John meets the girl and gets promptly knocked out by the shifty Arab who doesn't appear again. He awakes in a sumptuous looking pad and meets Ayesha (better known as She Who Must be Obeyed, but that doesn't sound as appealing, frankly). Now here we come to one of the problems about these sorts of films, where the plot hinges upon the fact that the leading lady is presented to be the most desirable woman in the world. It happens here, in Richard Burton's "Dr. Faustus", in any number of Ingrid Pitt lesbian vampire flicks. The trouble is, and this is of course down to personal taste, I don't find Ms. Andress particularly attractive. She's an OK looking gal, but I've never been one for the whole "Mysterious and alluring femme fatal" type, which means I can rarely communicate with the leading male characters who instantly fall in love with said femme fatal and are willing to give up everything to be with them forever. The same applies here. Maybe it's because John Richardson plays it so blank throughout, I don't know. But when he gets set a long journey across the desert to locate a forgotten city and instantly agrees before going for his fourth snog, I was getting a trifle cynical, sounding more or less as I do writing this review.
Fortunately we're soon back with Cushing and Cribbins, who unfortunately seem to do very little in this film - it's mainly concerned with the boring decisions of Richardson and the love triangle he gets himself into (not with Cribbins and Cushing, no, with She and serving girl Ustane - though the former would have made for a far more interesting feature at the very least). The journey, all mix n' fade shots of our intrepidinsipid travellers looking weary and swigging from water gourds, gets tedious quickly, and a quick assault from rifle waving desert chaps doesn't cause much of a stir either. I won't say too much more about the story, but you'll probably find yourself, as I did, guessing what events and problems will befall Cushing and the gang about five minutes before said events happen - and about 80% of the time you'll be right.
The cast have probably made this film more memorable than it should be. As well as Andress, Cushing and Cribbins, watch out for Christopher Lee in a rather small role as a high priest (and, just as in "The Mummy", he gets to wear another stupid hat during a ceremony), and Andre Morell (Watson in Hammer's "Hound of the Baskervilles). Actually, the presence of Morell provoked some amusement for me. I've got so used to the "Oh, that actor's in..." game that now I'm so sad as to be able to a) recognise a 50s60s actor even when under make up, b) recognise said actor even when his voice has been dubbed by a different actor, and c) recognise the voice of the actor doing the dubbing! So, though Andre Morell, a terribly English actor, appears as the chief of a primitive tribe, it is not his plummy tones that emanate from his mouth but those of swarthy foreigner actor George Pastell, better known to us Doctor Who fans as madman and swarthy foreigner Eric Kleig from "Tomb of the Cybermen" (and as the fez wearing swarthy foreigner who brings "The Mummy" back to life in Hammer's earlier monster movie).
101 minutes goes by very slowly, with yet more swarthy foreigners and a certain very old flame, and you'll probably greet the final caption with a yawn and a stretching of limbs to combat rheumatism. "She" isn't a particularly bad film, but it's just boring. Even a showing of some top notch British talent can't save it.
Review by The_Secretive_Bus from the Internet Movie Database.