WOW...the best ~oriental fantasy~ movie i have seen from the 30s thus far. gorgeous. films like this are hard to approach in our age but i don't think they should be reviled and forgotten, nor engaged with without a critical eye. and...this was photographed by james wong howe. i wonder how he felt, working on this, though arabs are the objectified/exoticized party in this film (for east asians...see fu manchu).
I am surprised that this piece of awesome pulp action is a total obscurity. It has death rays, mystic yogis, a beautiful princess, an Egyptian temple, hypnosis, telepathy, a sandstorm, Bela Lugosi as a James Bond villain, etc., etc. The special effects are superb. The sets are impressive. James Wong Howe's cinematography is beautiful. It's like Enter the Dragon in being the complete pulp movie.
An uneven pulp adventure offers a surprising amount of style and atmosphere, with some imaginative imagery and solid vintage special effects. Unfortunately, the story isn't quite up to the task; a muddled potboiler with bland characters and some annoying attempts at comic relief - though it does get better in its explosive climax. Can be slow-going at times, but worth a look for fans of fantasy films of this era.
William Cameron Menzies + James Wong Howe? This one lives up to the expectation of being a visual delight. Pretty interesting story and Lugosi is in fine form here. Felt the dude playing Chandu was a bit miscast however. I think someone like an Errol Flynn wouldve brought a lot more to the role. Otherwise, really solid pre-Code film