Forgotten Films: The Vengeance of She (1968)
This is the 96th in my series of Forgotten Obscure or Neglected Films
I am fighting a bad head cold right now so this will probably be a short review. Some time ago (about 18 months or so) I reviewed the black and white version of H. Rider Haggard’s classic novel SHE starring Randolph Scott and Helen Gahagen from 1935. I quite enjoyed that film and am a big fan of Haggard’s work.
This film I picked up on VHS years ago because I liked the image from the poster and because of the connection to the earlier film. I was lying in bed looking for something to watch as the cable was awful this weekend when I chanced on this and in looking it over I noted that the screenplay was by Peter O’Donnell, the man who created Modesty Blaise. Now I like SHE and I like Modesty Blaise so this seemed like a good idea.
And it basically was. The film is a relic of the late 1960’s and has some elements that mark it as a relatively low budget operation (bad matte work, awful score, and other things). But I watched it.
The story centers on Carol (Olga Schoberova, though she was billed as Olinka Berova), a young woman wandering around Europe in a daze while fighting off lecherous men and mental commands calling for Ayesha. She finds herself on the boat of wealthy businessman George (Colin Blakeley), his wife Sheila (Jill Melford) and their friend psychiatrist Philip (Edward Judd). As they cruise the Mediterranean, things go well until George receives a notice about a town he should probably not visit if he does not enjoy local jails. This prompts a screaming migraine from Carol and she jumps off the yacht, causing George to follow after her to save her from drowning. Carol is saved but George dies and the yacht proceeds to the nearest town where Carol immediately leaves the group and begins her journey to the source of her mysterious and painful dreams.
Philip trams up with Harry (George Sewell), the yacht’s skipper to find the girl. She is captured by slavers and sold away but George and Harry are resourceful and find her. Meanwhile, ion the lost city of Kume, a handsome man Kallikrates (John Richardson, reprising his role from the 1965 Ursula Andress version of SHE) is trying to bring his long lost love back home. She is an immortal spirit that has been reborn and he is using magicians to bring her back so she can enter the blue fire that will make her immortal. Man-hari (Derek Godfrey) is chief among the magicians and has been promised immortality if he can get Ayesha to Kume in time.
Pretty standard fare for this type of film. Limited effects and budget cause strain on the interest of the viewer. Ayesha does look quite nice in filmy gauzy unstructured dresses. Kallikrates looks funny in his short skirt.
Worth watching but only if you have nothing better to do. The O’Donnell script was nothing exciting. The acting is passable. I probably will not watch it again.
There appear to be a fair number of copies of the film on DVD or VHS at the usual on line sources so if you are interested, it would not be hard to find.
Series organizer Todd Mason hosts more Tuesday Forgotten Film reviews at his own blog and posts a complete list of participating blogs.