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Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings(1954)


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The opening credits contain the following written prologue: "The earth holds few treasures which have stimulated man's imagination-and his greed-as much as the tombs of the rulers of ancient Egypt, the Pharaohs. This is the story of the search for the most fabulous tomb of all." The credits also indicate that the film was "suggested by historical data in Gods, Graves and Scholars by C. W. Ceram." According to November 1953 Hollywood Reporter and New York Times news items, M-G-M purchased the rights to the scholarly archaeology text for "protection purposes," as it contained a chapter titled "Robbers in the Valley of the Kings" that might be construed as having influenced the film's script. Although a September 29, 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that Sam Zimbalist would produce the film, Valley of the Kings was released without a producer credit. Modern sources assert that the film's producer wished to remain anonymous.
       According to studio publicity materials in the film's file at the AMPAS Library, Vittorio Gassman was originally cast as "Mark Brandon." Portions of the film were shot on location at various locations in Egypt, including Cairo, Mount Sinai, Luxor, Faiym, Suez and the Libyan desert. Location shooting took place from 2 December-December 31, 1953, and production resumed at the M-G-M studio on January 11, 1954. According to information in the M-G-M Collection at the USC Cinema-Television Library, some second unit filming took place in El Segundo, CA.
       According to June 1954 news items in Hollywood Reporter and Variety, the film's release date was moved up from August to July to take advantage of the publicity generated by the discovery of an ancient boat-believed to have been used in pharaonic funeral rites-near the Great Pyramid in Cheops, Egypt. Variety reported that the picture's 21 July opening in Cairo and Alexandria would mark the first time an American film had a world premiere in Egypt.