The Loves of Pharaoh

The early German filmmakers didn’t do things by halves: this grandiose 1922 silent directed by Ernst Lubitsch features massive sets, ornate costumes and hundreds, possibly thousands of extras. No complete print exists, so this restoration has been cobbled together from diverse sources, with stills and intertitles to see us through the gaps. It’s not an entirely succesful technique: the first half, from which several key scenes are absent, feels a little ponderous, as Egyptian tyrant Amenes (Emil Jannings) refuses the hand of the Princess of Ethiopia after falling madly in love with Greek slave girl Theonis (Dagny Servaes). But when King Samlak (Paul Wegener) responds to this slight by sending out his armies, the film takes off, with a brace of teeming, gripping battle scenes, a dash of pre-’Raiders’ derring do and some truly captivating silent-era melodrama.

Release details

Duration: 100 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ernst Lubitsch
Screenwriter: Norbert Falk, Hanns Kraly
Cast: Emil Jannings
Dagny Servaes
Harry Liedtke
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