Sphinx is a 1981 American adventure film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and starring Lesley-Anne Down and Frank Langella. The screenplay by John Byrum is based on the 1979 novel of the same name by Robin Cook.

Plot

Dedicated Egyptologist Erica Baron is researching a paper about the chief architect to Pharaoh Seti. Soon after her arrival in Cairo, she witnesses the brutal murder of unscrupulous art dealer Abdu-Hamdi, meets a French journalist named Yeon, and is befriended by Akmed Khazzan, who heads the antiquities division of the United Nations. When she journeys to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor to search a tomb reportedly filled with treasures, she finds herself the target of black marketeers determined to keep the riches themselves.

Cast

Production

Film rights were purchased by Orion Pictures for $1 million.[3]

Schaffner said in 1981, "I've never done this kind of film before, this mixture of mystery and adventure and romance. Two years ago, when I considered taking on the project, it seemed to me that audiences would look for this kind of escapist entertainment when it was released. I sincerely hope I'm right." [4]

Interiors were filmed in Budapest. Egypt locations include the Cairo bazaars, Giza, the Winter Palace Hotel in Luxor, and Thebes. The tomb set cost $1 million.[5]

Lesley-Anne Down got married during the filming.[6]

Critical reception

Vincent Canby of The New York Times said the film "never stops talking and never does it make a bit of sense. It's unhinged. If it were a person, and you were trying to be nice, you might say it wasn't itself." He continued, "Mr. Schaffner and Mr. Byrum have effectively demolished what could have possibly been a decently absurd archeological-adventure film. The locations . . . are so badly and tackily used that the movie could have been shot more economically in Queens . . . The performers are terrible, none more so than Mr. Langella, who is supposed to be mysterious and romantic but behaves with all of the charm of a room clerk at the Nile Hilton." In conclusion, he called the film "total, absolute, utter confusion."[7]

Variety described the film as a contemporary version of The Perils of Pauline and called it "an embarrassment," adding "Franklin J. Schaffner's steady and sober style is helpless in the face of the mounting implausibilities."[8]

Time Out New York thought the film made "striking use of locations" but criticized the "lousy script, uneasy heroine, and weak material." It called it a "clear case of a lame project that only a best selling (ie. heavily pre-sold) novel could have financed" and warned audiences to "avoid" it.[9]

References

  1. "The Unstoppables". Spy. November 1988. p. 90.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. MOVIES: LANGELLA SHEDS CLOAK FOR 'SPHINX' Mann, Roderick. Los Angeles Times 9 Mar 1980: l29.
  3. Orion: A Humanistic Production Kilday, Gregg. Los Angeles Times 5 Jan 1979: f13.
  4. New film, Sphinx, may depart from the spectacular Schaffner refuses to think small Godfrey, Stephen. The Globe and Mail5 Feb 1981: P.19.
  5. FILM MAKING IN PHARAOH LAND: TUT, TUT: FILM MAKING IN PHARAOH LAND Hall, William. Los Angeles Times 11 May 1980: u6.
  6. MOVIES: LESLEY-ANNE DOWN: WAITING FOR THE RIGHT ROLE... Mann, Roderick. Los Angeles Times 28 Dec 1980: o33.
  7. Vincent Canby (February 11, 1981). "SCHAFFNER'S SPHINX".. Retrieved on February 22, 2017.
  8. "Review: Sphinx". (December 31, 1980). Retrieved on February 22, 2017.
  9. "Sphinx".. Retrieved on February 22, 2017.

External links

Wikipedia
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at Sphinx (film). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Warner Bros. Entertainment Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.


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