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SHE
June 24, 2015  | By David Bianculli

TCM, 10:00 p.m. ET

 

Another of tonight’s TCM “Pin-Up Girls” features, this one, from 1965, could have been shown Monday as part of the network’s tribute to the late Christopher Lee. He, and frequent cinematic partner Peter Cushing, are in this one as well. This version of She – the original source of the phrase  “She who must be obeyed,” the way Rumpole used to refer to his wife on Rumpole of the Bailey – isn’t the first movie version of the H. Rider Haggard novel. The story and character, about a fearsome and apparently immortal white queen ruling a hidden city in East Africa, were seized upon at the very birth of the cinema: the great director and stage magician George Melies presented a special-effects-laden silent short, called Haggard’s She: The Pillar of Fire, in 1899, and revisited the character and gimmickry as part of his The Mystical Flame in 1903. In 1908, director Edwin S. Porter, of The Great Train Robbery fame, did a more faithful version of the book, starring Florence Auer as “She.” Other silent versions, increasingly complex, starred Marguerite Snow as “She” in 1911, Alice Delysia in 1916, Valeska Suratt in 1917, and Betty Blythe in 1925. But once the sound era hit the cinema, only one She movie was filmed for the next four decades: 1935’s She, starring Broadway singer Helen Gahagan in her only screen role. But then, in 1965, came the version of She shown tonight, starring Ursula Andress (pictured) as She Who Must Be Worshiped. By me, anyway…

 
 
 
 
 
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