From the creative team that brought you the original "King Kong" comes a thrilling tale of adventure, immortality and lost love. -In color for the first time and includes fully restored black & white versions -Great Ray Ha... more »rryhausen bonus features, Additional Scenes, Classic Sci-fi Toy Commercials, Original She Trailer« less
Largely Forgotten But Greatly Influential--And A Lot of Fun!
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 03/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If the 1935 SHE reminds you vaguely of the 1933 KING KONG do not be too surprised: both films were produced by Meriam C. Cooper, who endowed them with similar visual styles--and who tweaked the 1887 novel by H. Rider Haggard to create a similar story line as well. Starring Broadway actress (and later two term Democratic congresswoman from California) Helen Gahagan in her only film role as The Eternal One, SHE did not, however, meet with the same financial success. It lost a tremendous amount of money for RKO, was withdrawn, and for many years was thought to be completely lost.
Although the film alters the Haggard novel in a great many ways, it retains the basic elements. Lured by a family legend, Leo Vincey (Randolph Scott) braves the frozen European north with family friend Horace Holly (Nigel Bruce, best known for his appearances in the Sherlock Holmes series) and innocent Tanya Dugmore (Helen Mack, popular 1930s ingenue.) When an avalanche exposes a cavern, the three find that the Vincey family legend is not quite so fanciful after all.
Most particularly, they find themselves at the mercy of She Who Must Be Obeyed, a woman who recalls talk of Jesus Christ in the Jerusalem market place, a woman two thousand years old who preserves her life by bathing in a radioactive flame that vents from the volcanic floor of her hidden kingdom. She (known here as Queen Hash-A-Mo-Tep) has been waiting for the reincarnation of her long-dead love, and Leo is his spitting image.
The acting styles are stiff even by 1935 standards and although Miss Gahagan is attractive in a 1930s way she lacks the stunning beauty attributed to She by the Haggard novel--but the great draw of the film was never intended to be great acting: like KING KONG, it is an action-adventure film with knockout sets (a few of them actually lifted from KING KONG), memorable special effects, and remarkable cinematographic set pieces. Even as it borrowed from earlier films such as the 1932 Boris Karloff THE MUMMY, it would also influence later films in turn; it is hard, for example, to imagine the 1937 Ronald Coleman LOST HORIZON without it, and even the look of the evil queen in Disney's 1938 SNOW WHITE is said to have been inspired by Gahagan's look and performance.
The film has been released in several editions to the home market, and fans may be tempted by less expensive editions. A word to the wise: Don't. The film shows its age and there is no significant bonus material, but the Kino Video release (be it on VHS or DVD) offers what is probably the best print short of a digital restoration. Recommended for fans of 1930s fantasy cinema.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer"
An Icy Eternal Feminine
Dave Clayton | San Diego, CA USA | 01/14/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The packaging for the DVD boldly announces this film as "From the Creator of 'King Kong'" and there are indeed such striking similarities between the two that She--produced by Merian C. Cooper during his tenure at RKO might well have been called Kong Goes North. (Cognoscenti of the earlier film will have no difficulty in spotting the monumental wall with its Babylonian-style gates that separated the inhabitants of Skull Island from the lair of the beast.) Once more a band of intrepid explorers intrude upon the sacred precincts of a "lost world" that has been cut off from contact with the outside for centuries--and with predictably disastrous results for all concerned, since the hero turns out to be a reincarnation of the man the immortal mistress of the chthonian realm of Kor had loved five hundred years before. In making King Kong, Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack had drawn upon their earlier documentaries like Grass and Chang, but She, based upon another febrile romance from the pen of H. Rider Haggard (King Solomon's Mines) is a wildly romantic creation that more resembles a Hollywood adaptation of Richard Wagner's Tristan and Isolde than any conventional adventure picture. In fact, what makes She still quite charming today is its highly anachronistic quality, especially evident in the extravagant sets designed by Van Nest Polglase, which hark back to the visual style of classic German films from the early 1920s like Fritz Lang's Destiny as well as Alla Nazimovia's silent version of Oscar Wilde's Salome. I would also surmise that She may have had a influence upon the look of some later movies including Frank Capra's Lost Horizon and Victor Fleming's The Wizard of Oz, and most interestingly of all upon Walt Disney's Snow White, whose evil queen bears a remarkable likeness to the one who rules over Kor. Helen Gahagan in her unique screen appearance is grandiosely malevolent as She Who Must Be Obeyed--as the movie styles the character. Randolph Scott is quite acceptable as the explorer Leo, and Nigel Bruce his usual solid self as Leo's companion Holly. But Helen Mack is ludicrous as Tanya, the mortal for whom Leo gives up the chance of eternal life, and Gustav Von Seyffertitz as the high priest of Kor is a prototypic example of old-time studio miscasting. As another reviewer pointed out, this DVD has been made from excellent print material and the picture quality is quite impressive, although I personally found the sound level had to be cranked up quite a bit."
SHE's the one...
Kert Conrad | DENVER, CO United States | 09/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is in response to the viewer who wanted more details about the 2-disc special edition of SHE. Without giving away too much of the plot, the story basically involves some brave adventurers who head off on an expedition to a faraway land with the hope of finding a lost civilization rumored to possess a mysterious power source that can give eternal youth. After a perilous journey, the explorers eventually locate the ancient people but run into trouble when they meet the cold-blooded female leader of the kingdom.
This new edition of SHE includes both a colorized version of the film and a restored print of the original B&W feature, along with a second disc full of bonus material. For me, however, the main reason for getting this newer release of the film is that it's an expanded version that runs about 8 minutes longer than the original.
As for the film itself, SHE is one of the all-time great adventure movies. One might quibble that there could have been a little more action instead of some lengthy sequences dealing with the sacrificial ceremonies and such, but it still has a thought-provoking mix of mystery and excitement that truly holds your attention. If you liked the original KING KONG or JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH with James Mason, you're bound to enjoy this movie and it's certainly worth adding to your collection.
If you already own the previous Kino edition of SHE, this new version does indeed offer some impressive enhancements, so if you really love the movie I'd say it's worth the price to replace your old copy. If you're just a casual fan, though, the older DVD is perfectly acceptable. Bottom line: SHE is always a winner. "
Long lost adventure movie finally gets the attention it dese
Fred Lamperzi | Springfield, VA | 11/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was lucky enough to be vacationing in California when Ray Harryhausen was screening this new version of She and giving a talk about his involvement with the movie. I had never seen this film, but was delighted to finally get exposed to the tale, and the Legend Films DVD is undoubtedly the way to go if you are interested in purchasing it.
Why does the Legend version stand above the rest? First of all, if you read the rest of the reviews about this product, they will all lament that the film looks washed out and grainy, some go as far as to say it will never look better unless given a digital restoration. Well Legend did just that. They digitally restored the film in Hi-Definition. So it has literally never looked better, in black & white and in color.
Then you have Ray Harryhausen's involvement in the project. "She" was one of Ray's favorite movies as a child, and he cited it as inspiration for several of his later pictures. Harryhausen lent his legendary Hollywood touch to the colorization of the film, and it looks terrific. While you are watching, you will have to remind yourself that this film was not originally shot in color. It looked that good on the big screen, and will amaze you on your TV.
Harryhausen provides commentary regarding the films history and the colorization process, which I found fascinating. Colorization is one of those things that most people don't take the time to wonder how it gets done, but is really quite an interesting process. The commentary reflects his love and enthusiasm for the film, and makes you appreciate it through the eyes of a man who saw it as a boy and went on to create fantastic worlds and creatures of his own.
As for the movie itself, I find it quite entertaining. Adventuring in search of long lost treasure, perilous situations, deadly magic, strange new worlds, mixed together with some old fashioned Hollywood romance - I will never get tired of any of that stuff. Seeing it color may be the only way to get some folks to take a look at old time Hollywood, and if that's the case, you can't go wrong with this version of She.
Look for Ray Harryhausens name on the cover!"
R. Donahue | Huachuca City, AZ United States | 03/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember having seen the black & white version of this film some twenty years ago - - but I was completely "blown away" by the Ray Harryhausen and Legend Films colorized version. The chorography and music of the dance sequence is alone worth the price of admission. Raldoph Scott - although sometimes critized as being "wooden" - was perfect in this film - as was Helen Gahagan. Sadly - although Helen Gahagan was an exceptional actress - this was her only film. (She was a stage actress.) As an added bonus - the optional audio commentary provides a wealth of background and historical information that is a must for all film buffs."