Adventure / Mystery / Thriller

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

John Rhys-Davies Photo
John Rhys-Davies as Stephanos Markoulis
Lesley-Anne Down Photo
Lesley-Anne Down as Erica Baron
Frank Langella Photo
Frank Langella as Akmed Khazzan
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.06 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 57 min
P/S 0 / 2
1.96 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 57 min
P/S 2 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by robert-temple-12 / 10

Nothing to do with the Sphinx

This film has nothing whatever to do with the Sphinx, and the title is just a come-on. The story concerns an imagined true and concealed tomb in the Valley of the Kings, of King Seti I, second pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, New Kingdom period. It is not a bad yarn, and a great deal of the film is shot on location. Even the scenes in the Winter Palace Hotel lobby in Luxor were really shot there, and not in a studio. The second unit stuff is endless, and they must have been let loose on Egypt for weeks. Frank Langella is very good indeed as a sophisticated Egyptian. He should take it up as a sideline. The film is essentially ruined by one of the world's most irritating actresses, Lesley Anne Down, who plays the lead. She spends the whole film wondering how she looks, are her blue eyes refracting light at the correct angle, do all the fellas lust after her, etc. Having started life as a model at the age of ten, what hope could there be for her? She epitomises everything that is most revolting about female vanity and dim-witted inanity. And to think that this film was directed by Franklin Shaffner, who won an Oscar for 'Patton'! He allows this terrible actress to whimper and simper through the film, hysterical one moment, flirting the next, in a kind of hurricane of idiocy as she reels from one man to another, either screaming or making bedroom eyes, it matters not. She is supposed to be a young Egyptologist. But she has never been to Egypt before! She takes a taxi to Giza and catching her first glimpse of the pyramids, gushes in ecstasy: 'But they're so BIG!!!!' Barf! OK, so that was the script, but she takes to the banality too readily, giving the impression that it is her natural element, which I don't doubt for a minute. Elements of the story are sound. There is, indeed, a serious problem about a black market in antiquities there. True! Well done! The novel by Robin Cook, which I have not seen, may be OK for all I know. It was fun to see the name of Cyril Swern as sound recordist on the film, as I knew him pretty well long ago. Stanley Kubrick's step-daughter Katharina is described as 'draughtswoman'. I wonder what that means? Maybe she did some set work. Anyway, the antiquities in the film are pretty good, actually. And we get to see lots of the Cairo Museum and numerous scenic locations. They actually go inside King Tutankhamun's Tomb! I don't imagine that would be allowed today for a movie. A lot of inappropriate scenes take place in mosques. That would not go down well today, but in 1981 such things were not on the agenda. The music for the film is absolutely appalling, worse than Lesley Anne Down in fact! But there were sound track elements which were surprisingly authentic, one being the cacophony of traffic noise of Cairo, which is accurately rendered in the background, and would make anyone who knows Cairo chuckle nervously. Also, the loudspeaker calls to prayer are there the whole time, another touch of authenticity. Why didn't they get this right? It could have been good.

Reviewed by moonspinner552 / 10

Aside from Gielgud, no polish...

Sloppy comic book adventure from Robin Cook's bestseller. Female Egyptologist in Cairo, a nervous ninny prone to screaming, is under investigation by a member of the United Nations after witnessing the murder and robbery of an art dealer; he follows her to Luxor, where she believes a tomb at the Valley of the Kings holds a legendary treasure. Despite a great deal of production expense and travel (not to mention Michael J. Lewis' booming, over-dramatic score),the spiritless film fails to function as a sand-swept travelogue, and it's too silly and annoying to work as a thriller. In the leads, Lesley-Anne Down and Frank Langella are an enervating pair. Sir John Gielgud has a little fun in a cameo role, and he exits far too soon. *1/2 from ****

Reviewed by lee_eisenberg6 / 10

not really any relation to the Sphinx itself

OK, so we should all know by now that any westerner who sticks even a hair strand into an Egyptian tomb is forever cursed. So many movies have dealt with this that another one hardly registers. "Sphinx" consists mostly of Lesley-Anne Down shrieking whenever something unpleasant happens (and with how she was dressed - without a veil - the people in Egypt would have taken her for a prostitute). I couldn't tell whether or not Frank Langella's character was supposed to be Arab or white: he had an Arab name but looked and talked like a Euro-American. And then John Gielgud plays an Egyptian man; was it still acceptable to cast white people as non-white people by this point? For the record, the title statue only appears in one or two scenes.

I should say that the movie isn't terrible. I learned some interesting stuff about archeology. But a far cooler movie in this genre is the Charlton Heston movie "The Awakening". This one is the sort of movie that you rent if there's absolutely nothing else to rent. I read that director Franklin J. Schaffner (most famous for "Planet of the Apes", "Patton", "Papillon" and "The Boys from Brazil") ended his career on a down-slide; with this sort of movie, I can see why. Also starring John Rhys-Davies (Sallah in the Indiana Jones movies) and Victoria Tennant (Steve Martin's first wife; she co-starred with him in "All of Me" and "L.A. Story").

Not that this is really related, but I wanted to talk about this movie getting released through Warner Bros. When I was little, I always associated WB with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, etc. Had I known then that the studio also released this movie - plus horror movies like "The Exorcist", "The Pack", "The Shining" and "The Nesting" - I probably would have asked something like "Why did Bugs Bunny make a bunch of scary movies?" This movie however, is not scary.

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