She-Who-Will-Screen- at-Cinematheque

  • Event Date & Time: screening of restored, uncut, colorized version of SHE (1935)
  • Location: Aero Theater - 1328 Montana Avenue in Santa Monica
  • In Person: Ray Haryhausen, Ray Bradbury, Forrest J Ackerman
  • The L.A. Times print vesion alerts us to the fact that the American Cinematheque will be screening SHE (1935) next Tuesday, but I'm damned if I can find the article at their online website.

    In any case, this is the old black-and-white film version of the H. Rider Haggard fantasy-adventure novel, about an expedition to a lost civilization presided over by the immortal "She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed." The film was produced by Merian C. Cooper, the man who gave us KING KONG two years earlier.

    The Cinematheque screened SHE a few months ago on a double bill with THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS. At the time, BEAST's effects expert Ray Harryhausen, a fan of Cooper's work, informed the audience that he was working on having SHE colorized.

    According to the L.A. Times, this colorized version will be screening in the Aero Theater at 7:30pm on Tuesday; the print will also included eight minutes of restored footage, missing since the original release 71 years ago.

    The movie is no match for KING KONG, but it is a lot of fun, a sort of Hollywood version of Haggard's tale (which also borrows elements from the sequel RETURN OF SHE). It's hokey and cornball in some ways but elaborately mounted in a very impressive fashion.

    Easily my favorite scene comes near the end, when the heroes are escaping from She's domain, and one of them overturns a lamp of flaming oil, which goes pouring down some wide stairs, spreading fire everywhere. There's a brief wide-angle shot of some scared-shitless extra (not a stuntman, I'm sure) eagerly trying to get the hell out of the way without ruining the shot - his authentic panic perfectly subsumed into his performance as a scared-shitless minion trying to get the hell out of the way without getting burned.

    Ray Harryhausen, author Ray Bradbury, and former Famous Monsters of Filmland editor Forrest J Ackerman will be on hand to discuss the film.