Lesley-Anne Down stars as Erica Baron, an intrepid English rose Egyptologist who stumbles on a priceless statue in a seedy Cairo bazaar run by wily curio dealer Abdu Hamdi (Sir John Gielgud) and then comes up against a gang smuggling artefacts from the Valley of the Kings.
Rarely since The Perils of Pauline has so much been endured by a heroine as by Down here in this £6 million suspense thriller.
After witnessing John Gielgud’s demise (he is sliced in two by sword-wielding grave robbers), she’s shot at, nearly raped, attacked by bats, thrown into a dungeon of rotting corpses and has a tomb cave in on her. As a result, she screams a lot, though co-star Frank Langella seems not to hear.
Director Franklin J Schaffner, who made Patton (1970), takes this nonsense far too seriously.
Lesley-Anne Down married one of the assistants on the film, Henri Gabriel, five-weeks after meeting him in Budapest.
Franklin J Schaffner