Monday, March 29, 2021

By the Gods!

Sinuhe (Edmund Purdom) and Nefer (Bella Darvi) in THE EGYPTIAN (1954) 

Bella Darvi's story is quite interesting. It's a tragic one. You can read it at the permanent page TRAGIC STARS. How should I summarize this movie? It's an existential epic. That's about it. It starts with a voiceover: "I, Sinuhe the Egyptian...". Purdom was a last minute replacement of Marlon Brando who hated Darvi, the role and the director. Dirk Bogarde was considered for the role before they settled with Purdom. Marilyn Monroe lobbied for the role but producer Darryl F. Zanuck cast Darvi instead, who was his mistress at the time. Can you imagine a PEPLUM movie with Brando and Marilyn? Somehow, the casting of Purdom and Darvi ended up being much better. Many cast members reportedly made fun of Darvi, including Jean Simmons. A movie based on the making of this movie would be fascinating. 


Graham Sumner said...

Graham Sumner said

Bella Darvi's character was called Nefer. Simmons apparently said that Darvi "was Nefer an actress"!

Anonymous said...

People always seem to think Bella was the only choice for the part of Nefer because she was Zanuck's mistress. Zanuck originally wanted Ava Gardner but MGM wanted too much money to borrow her for the part. I've always thought Purdam and Darvi were perfect in their parts and it one of my all time favorite films. There is a detailed chapter on the making of the film in the book "Read the Book! See the Movie!
The Robe and Demetrius are also covered there.

PEPLUM TV said...

Thanks for bringing up 'Read the Book! See the Movie!' bt Gary Smith. I'll definitely check it out. Ava would have been interesting but the cast as it is is oddly enough perfect.


Yes, I've heard that story as well.

Anonymous said...

Brando played Mark Anthony in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" (1953). He wore a topless toga. Does that count as Peplum?

PEPLUM TV said...

Yes, JULIUS CAESAR counts as a PEPLUM. Any story set in Antiquity or the distant past. Brano was excellent in it but I don't think he would have been right for Sinuhe.