East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


She Who Must Be Obeyed

The 1965 take on H. Rider Hagard’s She was the most expensive Hammer project to date, and they could pull it off only because, after much searching, MGM agreed to foot the bill.
After all, it was to be a vehicle for Ursula Andres, that three years before had caused quite a splash as the first Bond Girl ever in Dr No.

And so, yesterday being Andress’ birthday and all that, I watched the old movie again, and it was just as much fun as the last time I’d seen it. It’s not exactly a Tits & Sand movie, despite the fact that both ingredients figure prominently in the mix (but in a classy way). Continue reading

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Merian Cooper’s “She”

Sometimes we look for something and we find something different – maybe something better.
Two nights ago I was talking with my friend Franco Pezzini about the Hammer version of H. Rider Haggard’s She – the one featuring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and Ursula Andress.
It’s a very unfaithful adaptation, but a fun movie.
So I decided I’ll watch it again, and do a post or two on it.
But while I was looking for the old Hammer flick, I stumbled on something even older, something I did not know existed – the Merian C. Cooper production of H. Rider-Haggard’s She, dating from 1935.


The movie was considered lost for decades, it was found in Buster Keaton’s garage, restored by Ray Harryhausen, and right now you can find it on Youtube, of all places – in a rather decent , if sadly colorized, copy. Continue reading

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Ennui in the Gobi Desert

cover76765-mediumPierre Benoit is well known for his L’Atlantide, a lost world story that couples the classic venues of pulp adventure with the mood of post-war (First World War, that is) disillusionment.
L’Atlantide is probably the most literary descendants of H. Rider-Haggard‘s She.

The Gobi Desert was published twenty-two years after L’Atlantide, in 1941, and in part it follows the same basic plot.
Two men in the desert, looking from some elusive treasure, while competing for the attentions of a ravishingly beautiful woman.
In L’Atlantide the prized possession is Atlantis itself and the femme fatale is the Queen of Atlantis, in The Goby Desert it is a white tiger, the mythical felis alba, and the object of desire is Alzire, an exotic dancer1.

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Return to Zanthodon

ZNTHDNVVJN1980In May 2013 I did a post on Lin Carter’s Zanthodon novels, which I discovered when I was in high-school, back when the dinosaurs ruled the earth.

Last month, Wildside Press reprinted the five Zanthodon novels as a single, massive ebook that goes for about one buck, aptly called The Zanthodon MEGAPACK TM: The Complete 5-Book Series.

And yes, I bought a copy.
My DAW Books original paperbacks are stashed somewhere in a box, and the one-volume collection on my kindle reader is a nice, cheap replacement. Continue reading

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She who must be obeyed

sheSometimes working on the weekend is fun.
I’m writing (well, actually revising, at the moment) an essay on Ayesha and other “lost race” queens from popular fiction.
Happily, my piece will go in a high-profile publication.

And as an extra bonus, it’s been a good excuse for watching again this old Hammer movie from 1965 – a very loose but fun adaptation of H. Rider Haggard‘s classic, She, featuring Ursula Andress, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

So, why not spread the joy?
Here are some highlights, courtesy of Youtube.

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