“Dreams are only memories in the endless flow of time.”
A young man (Randolph Scott) and a family friend (Nigel Bruce) travel to the Arctic to search for a hidden city said to possess the fire of immortality. Once they arrive, the city’s ruler, “She” (Helen Gahagan), recognizes Scott as her long-lost lover come to life, and is determined to steal him away from his new romantic interest (Helen Mack).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Antarctica and the Arctic
- Past Lives
- Randolph Scott Films
- Strong Females
Based on an oft-filmed novel by H. Rider Haggard (with most adaptions made during the silent film era, and most also called simply She), this “lost world” adventure flick was producer Merian C. Cooper’s follow-up to King Kong (1933). The transposition of Haggard’s original South African setting to the Arctic north allowed for the creation of some impressively baroque Art Deco sets (and ultimately isn’t too egregious of a shift, given that this was an equally “remote” and mysterious location for audiences at the time). Yet the film as a whole suffers from a serious lack of chemistry between its nominal “romantic leads”. Unlike in the 1965 Hammer Studios remake (starring Ursula Andress and John Richardson), we never once believe in the viability of Scott and Gahagan’s presumed centuries-old romantic connection. In the Andress/Richardson remake, Richardson “meets” Andress before setting out on his voyage of discovery, and feels a strong sensual attraction to her from the get-go; here, Scott merely seems befuddled and irritated in Gahagan’s presence, and anxious to get back to his “real world” love interest, Helen Mack. Not helping matters is Scott’s wooden acting, especially noticeable in contrast with Gahagan’s more theatrical approach to her role. While the visuals are worth a look (the cinematography and sets are quite stunning at times), this one is ultimately skippable.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- J. Roy Hunt’s cinematography
- Enjoyably baroque sets
- Outrageous costumes (note the strong parallel here between Gahagan’s outfit and that of the queen in Disney’s animated Snow White, released just two years later)
No; this one isn’t must-see unless you’re curious.