The Egyptian (1954) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Egyptian1954

The Egyptian (1954)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Egyptian Photos

Movie Info

Based on the novel by Mika Waltari and helmed by Casablanca director Michael Curtiz, The Egyptian, a lavish period soaper, is set several centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ. Young Egyptian healer Sinuhe Edmund Purdom (ere accompanied by his servant, Kaptah, played by Peter Ustinov) draws the affection of barmaid Merit (Jean Simmons) who seeks his hand in marriage. Sinuhe provides medical assistance to the epileptic Pharoah, Akhnaton (Michael Wilding), who, meanwhile, becomes convinced that only one god exists, and thus infuriates all of his polytheistic priests, who secretly plot to assassinate him. Sinuhe has an affair with a Babylonian whore, Nefer (Bella Darvi), but grows listless with her and eventually ends the relationship, harkening back to Merit. However, she is soon extinguished, with an arrow through the heart, for also being monotheistic. Angered by this, and believing Akhnaton's ideas directly responsible for Merit's death, Sinuhe and his muscular friend, the affable Horemheb (screen heartthrob Victor Mature) poison the Pharoah. Akhnaton then dies while Horemheb prepares to ascend to the throne. Ingmar Bergman had a point when he admonished the idea of falling for one's lead actress, and it is a lesson one wishes producer Daryl Zanuck had learned; he purportedly had an extramarital affair with Darvi, taking her as a "plaything," but grew sick of her after casting her in seven films. Her career then torpedoed. (Little wonder - her horrendous performance in this film must be seen to be believed; Variety called it "less than believable or skilled.") This $4.2 million film (a massive amount for 1954) suffered from additional production problems as well, with Marlon Brando originally slated to star, but replaced, at the very last minute, by Purdom, a contract player for 20th Century-Fox.


Victor Mature
as Horemheb
Gene Tierney
as Baketamon
John Carradine
as Grave robber
Anitra Stevens
as Nefertiti
Donna Martell
as Lady in Waiting
Mimi Gibson
as Little Princess
Harry Thompson
as Nubian Leopard Attendant
Ian MacDonald
as Ship's Captain
Don Blackman
as Nubian Prince
Mike Mazurki
as Death House Foreman
Peter Reynolds
as Sinuhe (age 10)
Joan Winfield
as Governess
Edmund Cobb
as Patient in Dispensary
Michael Ansara
as Hittite Commander
Henry Corden
as Hittite Officer
Geraldine Bogdonovich
as Tavern Waitress
Eghiche Harout
as Syrian at Nefer's
Tiger Joe Marsh
as Libyan Guard
Karl (Killer) Davis
as Libyan Guard
Paul Salata
as Egyptian Official
Joan Whitfield
as Governess
View All

Critic Reviews for The Egyptian

All Critics (2)

Lavishly produced by Zanuck, this big-budget historical epic is preposterously plotted and acted, though Shamroy's color cinematography is good.

January 31, 2012 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Overlong, risible and plodding historical blockbuster.

January 22, 2009 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Egyptian

A very big Cinemascope picture from the days when big desert pictures were all the rage, all about how an altruistic young doctor (Ed Purdom) is beguiled by a slinky Babylonian harlot, thereby losing 'good' hometown babe but finally getting her again by the final credits (over 2 hours later!). There's a couple of subplots too, for diversion. One is about some wacky new religion that has only one god (cue angelic chorus, also big in the 50s). Another is about how the doctor's best buddy (Vic Mature, actually quite good in this) wants to be Pharoah. Woah. The problem is that Purdom defies every attempt to empathize with him, or the story. Leave it.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Creaky biblical balderdash with Jean Simmons as always giving a good performance and Peter Ustinov a fun one, everybody else is stiff. Curtiz, usually able to keep something like this going, provides a leaden pace.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

The Egyptian Quotes

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