Review Date: 12/31/01
Cast: Ursula Andress, John Richardson, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Andre Morell
It's 1918, and after a tour of desert fighting, Major Holly (Peter Cushing), Leo (John Richardson), and Job are making plans to go back home to England. Leo spies a beautiful girl named Ustaine, and his weakness for women spells doom for the entire party. He then meets the beautifully radiant and immortal Ayesha (Ursula Andress) who believes Leo is the reincarnation of her lover Killicrates from 2000 years ago. Under her hypnotic spell, Leo and his companions travel to the lost city of Kuma where they witness Ayesha's terrible wrath and absolute power. But having an eternal hard-on for her, Leo decides to become immortal and spend eternity with her. This naturally causes some turmoil, followed by betrayal, a revolt, and a tragic ending.
Of course, beautiful Ursula Andress is extremely captivating to watch, although she's essentially absent from the first hour of the film. Fortunately, in her absence the stately and always enjoyable Peter Cushing is on hand to lend some class to the film, and he is quite entertaining. Unfortunately, that's about all of the good things I have to say about this Hammer film, as it's long, tedious, and flaunts an unwarranted sense of self importance. Not to mention John Richardson's constant lip-locking becomes increasingly annoying. While this is technically a better film, the more exploitive B-movie sequel, "The Vengeance Of She" (1967), is actually much more enjoyable to watch. And one final note: a particularly absurd cinematic construct really came to my attention while watching this film, which is why do people wandering around in the desert always throw away their empty canteens? I bet they'll feel really stupid at the next watering hole...