review for She on AllMovie

She (1935)
by Hans J. Wollstein review

Containing many of the ingredients that would award the later Lost Horizons legendary status, She just misses that elevated status. Where Lost Horizons' Shangri La remains a source of inspiration and dreams, She's hidden civilization of Kor is rather more mundane, emerging just this side of ridiculous. Much of the blame should perhaps go to Gahagan's rather lifeless portrayal of the supposedly enticing queen, but Irving Pichel was no Frank Capra and his direction is sometimes downright leaden. In her first -- and, as it turned out, final -- screen performance, Gahagan did her best, but the role seems to have been beyond her much-vaunted capacities and the blame for the film's loss of more than $180,000 at the box office was placed squarely at her feet. Apparently producer Merian C. Cooper's only choice for the role, Gahagan proved a better politician in real life than as ruler of Kor: she was later elected to two terms in the United States Congress on the Liberal ticket. In 1950, she ran for the United States Senate but was defeated by future president Richard Nixon. Opposite Gahagan's title character, Randolph Scott and Helen Mack perhaps lack the extra sparkle that Cooper's first choices, the husband-and-wife team of Joel McCrea and Frances Dee, may have added. Despite these caveats, She fully deserves its rediscovery.