She (1965 film)

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She movie.jpg
Directed by Robert Day
Produced by Michael Carreras
Written by Screenplay:
David T. Chantler
Based on Novel:
H. Rider Haggard
Starring Ursula Andress
Peter Cushing
Bernard Cribbins
John Richardson
Rosenda Monteros
Christopher Lee
Music by James Bernard
Cinematography Harry Waxman
Editing by James Needs
Eric Boyd-Perkins
Studio Hammer Film Productions
Distributed by Warner-Pathé Distributors (UK)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (US)
Release dates 18 April 1965 (UK)
June 9, 1965 (US)
Running time 106 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £323,778[1]
Box office $1,700,000 (US/ Canada rentals)[2]

She is a 1965 film made by Hammer Film Productions, based on the novel by H. Rider Haggard.It was directed by Robert Day and stars Ursula Andress, Peter Cushing, Bernard Cribbins, John Richardson, Rosenda Monteros and Christopher Lee. The film was an international success and led to a 1968 sequel, The Vengeance of She, with Olinka Berova in the title role.


After receiving honorable discharges from the British Army in 1918 Palestine, Professor Holly (Peter Cushing), young Leo Vincey (John Richardson) and their manservant Job (Bernard Cribbins) embark on the exploration of a previously uncharted region of north-east Africa. They discover the lost city of Kuma after Leo receives a mysterious map revealing the city's whereabouts.

This lost realm is ruled by Ayesha (Ursula Andress), who is also known as "She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed." Ayesha is an immortal queen and high priestess. She believes Leo is the physically identical reincarnation of her former lover, the priest Kallikrates (whom she killed when she found him in an intimate embrace with another woman about two thousand years before). Ayesha tries to convince Leo to walk into a mystical blue fire, which occurs only briefly during certain astronomical alignments. By entering the fire, Leo also will become immortal.

Ayesha's 2,000-year oppression of her Amahagger tribal slaves comes to an end when she executes the beautiful Ustane (Rosenda Monteros) for the "crime" of falling in love with Leo. Ustane's father Haumeid (André Morell), a former captain of the palace guard, is naturally outraged by his daughter's death. He leads an uprising of the Amahagger. Ayesha's army appears overwhelmed during the fierce battle against the badly equipped but more numerous "barbarians."

Leo battles Bilali (Christopher Lee), Ayesha's fanatical chief priest, who wants immortality for himself. Bilali brutally defeats Leo and attempts to enter the blue flame, but he is killed by Ayesha.

Ayesha takes Leo's hand and leads him into the fire, where he becomes immortal. However, her second exposure to the fire destroys Ayesha's immortality, and she dies as her body rapidly reverts to her true chronological age. Leo, despondent, states that he doesn't care how long it takes for the fire to next burn blue, but it will find him waiting to undo his immortality.



The re-filming of the H. Rider Haggard novel – which had been filmed previously in 1908, 1911, 1916, 1917, 1925 and 1935[3] – was the idea of Kenneth Hyman of Seven Arts Productions, who had a long-running relationship with Hammer Film Productions. Anthony Hinds commissioned a script from John Temple-Smith, and the lead role was assigned to Ursula Andress – known at that time for her role in the James Bond film Dr. No[4] – who signed a two picture deal with Seven Arts as a guarantee for her husband John Derek. She would thus become the first Hammer film to be built around a female star.[4]

Hammer pitched the project to Universal, who turned it down. Hinds then arranged for Berkley Mather to write a script, but the project was turned down again by Universal, and then by Joseph E. Levine and American International Pictures. Hinds passed it over to Michael Carreras who got David T. Chantler to rewrite the script again. Carreras succeeded in getting the film financed through MGM,[1] with triple the usual budget for a Hammer Film.[4]

Principal photography commenced in southern Israel's Negev Desert on 24 August 1964, with scenes also shot at MGM's Elstree Studios in London when Hammer's Bray Studios proved to be too small for the project.[4] It was the most expensive film Hammer had made up until that time,[1] but upon release it was a hit both in North America and in Europe.[4]

Although the studio was pleased with the look of Ursula Andress in the film – as lit by Harry Waxman and costumed by Carl Toms and Roy Ashton – they found her Swiss German accent to be offputting, and had her entire part re-dubbed by actress Monica Van Der Syl, who maintained a slight accent so as not to throw the film's audience, who would be familiar with the way Andress spoke from seeing her in Dr. No.[4]

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  1. ^ a b c Bruce G. Hallenbeck, British Cult Cinema: Hammer Fantasy and Sci-Fi, Hemlock Books 2011 pp. 146–157
  2. ^ Anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Top Grossers of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p 36
  3. ^ "H. Rider Haggard" on
  4. ^ a b c d e f Doll, Susan. "She (1965)" on

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