Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein
Randolph Scott, whom Cooper borrowed from Paramount, plays Leo Vincey, an explorer searching for the "flame of life," a radioactive element hidden in the Arctic parts of Manchuria which, according to Vincey family lore, can bestow eternal life. Setting out on the fearful journey along with British scientist Horace Holly (Nigel Bruce), Vincey is soon joined by Dugmore (Lumsden Hare), a brutish trader, and his daughter Tanya (Helen Mack). In the mountains north of the legendary civilization of Kor, where the "flame of life" is said to be located, Dugmore stumbles over a frozen corpse laden with gold. Greedily hacking away at the corpse, the trader causes an avalanche that kills him and seals off Vincey, Holly, and Tanya from the expedition. The avalanche, however, also exposes a volcanic cave where the trio is taken into custody by Billali (Gustav Von Seyffertitz), Prime Minister of Kor, who brings them before the almighty ruler She, Hash-A-Mo-Tep (She, Who Must be Obeyed). The mysterious female potentate mistakes Vincey for his ancestor John Vincey, for whose return she has been waiting for 500 years. Completely under the spell of this beautiful but ancient monarch, Vincey demands that Holly and Tanya leave without him. But when She discovers Tanya's true feelings for Vincey, the merciless ruler orders the girl to be used as human sacrifice. Tanya is about to be dropped into the Holy Well when Vincey finally comes to his senses. With Holly and a rescued Tanya in tow, he escapes across a dangerous precipice -- right into She's sacred temple -- where a final, climactic confrontation between explorer and ruler takes place. Created by the makers of King Kong (1933) -- producer Merian C. Cooper and screenwriter Ruth Rose -- She, from H. Rider Haggard's 1886 novel, proved a disaster at the box office, losing a total of $180,000 according to some reports. Much of the blame was placed, unfairly perhaps, at the feet of Broadway actress Helen Gahagan, who made her screen debut in the film's all-important title role. Filmed at least four times in the silent era (including a 1925 British production starring American femme fatale Betty Blythe), She was remade twice by low-budget Hammer Films, in 1965 starring Ursula Andress and as The Vengeance of She in 1967.
aging, beauty [physical], creature, eternal-life, expedition, exploration, hardships, journey, sacrifice, secrets, snow, tribe, underground [counterculture]
High Historical Importance, High Production Values