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Film / She (1965)

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She is a 1965 film by Hammer Film Productions, based on the novel She: A History of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard. The film stars Ursula Andress in the title role, Peter Cushing as Horace Holly, John Richardson as Leo Vincey, and Christopher Lee as Billali, with Bernard Cribbins as Holly's valet Job.

It is 1918, and Leo Vincey and Horace Holly have recently been demobbed from the British Army. Seeking adventure, they go in search of the lost city of Kuma, home of the immortal She Who Must Be Obeyed.


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This film contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Horace Holly is described in the novel as being hopelessly ugly, even ape-like in appearance. In the film, he's Peter Cushing.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Billali, a leader of the Amahaggers who in the novel is a friend and helper to Holly and Leo, is evil in the film, kidnapping Leo on Ayesha's orders and trying to kill Leo in order to gain immortality in the fire.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In the novel, Leo's quest to find the lost city is a family duty, and both he and Holly stock up on relevant knowledge in advance before coming to Africa specifically to find it. In the film, the quest finds Leo unawares when he is already in Africa, so the fact that his army buddy Holly just happens to be a professor of antiquities comes in pretty handy.
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  • Bar Brawl: Holly and Job get into one near the beginning of the film, which prevents them from noticing that Leo has been lured off to meet She.
  • Bedlah Babe: The opening scene finds Leo, Holly, and Job in a Cairo bar taking in some Belly Dancers.
  • Crossing the Desert: The first part of Leo, Holly, and Job's trek to the lost city. Made more difficult by tribesmen who steal their camels and water.
  • Darkest Africa
  • Death by Adaptation: Billali, as a result of his Adaptational Villainy. He attempts to obtain for himself the immortality She intends for Leo, and She kills him.
  • Downer Ending: Leo goes into the blue flame of immortality with She so that they can live forever together. Leo becomes immortal, but She, who had already been through the flame once, loses her immortality and dies. The film ends with Leo saying that he's going to wait for who knows how long (millennia?) for the blue flame to come again.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Billali wants to become immortal too.
  • Fanservice Extra: One of the Belly Dancers apparently decided to up the Fanservice factor by going with pasties over her nipples rather than any kind of bra. (In 1965!)
  • Honey Trap: Ustane leads Leo into a kidnapping.
  • Identical Grandson: Leo bears a strong resemblance to Kallikrates, of whom he is supposed to be the reincarnation. John Richardson plays both.
  • In the Back: How Ayesha dispatches Billali while he is struggling with Leo.
  • Love at First Sight: Ustane falls in love with Leo immediately—while leading him into a kidnapping—and tries to warn him off at the last second.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: After Ustane starts a relationship with Leo, She has her executed.
  • No Immortal Inertia: She dies at the end, and shrivels as all her centuries catch up with her.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The 1965 film dumps all of the first part of the novel—Leo's dying father turns five-year-old Leo over to Holly, Holly raises Leo to adulthood, Leo and Holly later examine the ring and potsherd left behind by Leo's father, Leo and Holly set off for Africa. In this version Leo and Holly are war buddies who find themselves in Cairo in 1918 after the Armistice. Billali and Ustane kidnap Leo on behalf of She, who pops up fifteen minutes in, much earlier than her first appearance in the book. And then it's She who gives Leo the ring and the map and sends Leo off on his quest.
  • Reincarnation: Leo Vincey is apparently the reincarnation of Kallikrates, a man Ayesha loved and lost centuries ago.
  • Setting Update: The film moves the time frame up from latter-19th century to 1918.

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