Eberhardt is remembered mainly for her diaries, eventually translated into English by Paul Bowles. This deals with her travails in Algeria and Morocco between 1899 and her death in 1904: her marriage to a consumptive Legionnaire, her belligerent journalism, her clashes with the forces of colonialism, whether brutish (Moie) or benign (O'Toole). Primarily it's a vehicle for May, the nude space vampire in Lifeforce, here a beguiling cross-dresser when not swathed in a burnous, and looking every inch a star. But this stilted Saharan slog does her no favours. O'Toole, who must know a thing or two about deserts by now, coasts in an undemanding role.