Set in Palestine in 1918, the tale finds three Army veterans trekking through the desert to find the lost city of Kuma. The reason: The youngest of the trio, Leo (John Richardson), had a vision in which a beautiful woman named Ayesha (Andress) promised endless wealth and more. After overcoming minor obstacles like murderous bedouins and death from thirst, the three men--with assistance from a young woman who fallen for Leo--arrive at their destination.
|Andress with Christopher Lee.|
|Peter Cushing as Leo's friend|
Another upgrade for Hammer is James Bernard's soundtrack. Bernard was the studio's "in-house composer" and wrote some marvelous scores for classics like Horror of Dracula. However, due to time constraints, Bernard sometimes had to borrow from himself. Listen closely to the music in the Dracula films and it all sounds very familiar. For She, Bernard crafted separate musical cues for Leo and Ayesha that recur throughout the film--perhaps a little too often. Still, it's a lovely score and one of Bernard's best.
|John Richardson as Leo.|
The rest of the cast in She ranges from excellent (the always reliable Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee) to adequate (Andress). In Hammer Films: An Exhaustive Filmography, director Robert Day said of his female lead: "She's a great presence but had little experience. I really had to work with her. It wasn't easy!"
|Olinka Berova in|
Vengeance of She.
Finally, for all you Rumpole of the Bailey fans, it was indeed Rumpole's intent to reference H. Rider Haggard's fearsome ruler when he referred to his spouse as "she who must be obeyed."