Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ursula Andress night

Ursula Andress in Doctor No (1962)

TCM is putting the spotlight on Swiss-born actress Ursula Andress tonight. Andress is probably best known for her role as Honey Ryder in Doctor No, the first of the James Bond movies Andress has the famous scene where she comes out of the water at the beach where James Bond is, trying to avoid whoever owns the private island since that's what he's out to investigate. Andress, of course, serves no real purpose to the plot; she's there to be the eye candy, and succeeds at it. At any rate, TCM doesn't currently have the rights to the James Bond movies.

Instead, TCM is starting the night off with She at 8:00 PM. Andress plays the titular "She", but doesn't show up for a while in that role. Peter Cushing plays a British Army Major in Palstine just after World War I, or about the time that TE Lawrence would have been a bit futher south in Arabia. Together with an orderly (Bernard Cribbins) and another soldier (John Richardson), they obtain an ancient coin that has a face on the heads side that looks amazingly like Richardson. This leads them to a meeting with Ayesha (Andress), who gives them a map to a legendary lost city.

So our heroes set out for the lost city, which is somewhere in Egypt, this being one of the eras when Egyptology was in vogue. Eventually, they discover that the map is accurate, and that there is a lost city, ruled by Queen Ayesha, who looks amazingly like the Ayesha that they met back in the British Mandate. The story gets more interesting when she claims that she's been ruling for over 2000 years, and that she's been waiting for her lost love, an ancient Greek king named Kallikrates, who also happens to be the man on that coin they got. So Queen Ayesha thinks she's got the reincarnation of Kallikrates here, and offers him eternal life and eternal love. But it's going to come at a price....

She was made by Hammer Films, who produced a long series of stylish horror pictures in the 1960s starring Cushing and Cristopher Lee, who is also in this one. I have to admit that the Hammer style isn't quite my thing, but there are a lot of people who do enjoy it, and they'll probably like She more than I do.

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