Suez (1938)

Genres - Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Biopic [feature]  |   Release Date - Oct 28, 1938 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 104 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

The historical fact that can be found in Suez would just about fill the navel of a sand flea, so anyone expecting a true history lesson would be better off with even the most condensed history book on the Suez Canal. Of course, Hollywood almost always takes liberties with history when creating films, so this is to be expected. What's more surprising is that the "fake" story they came up with is of such little interest. This problem is compounded by the fact that the screenplay contains achingly banal dialogue that must have made the actors cringe whenever they had to open their mouths. Fortunately, the cast is very game and doesn't let on that the words they spout are so ridiculous. It can't be said that anyone is giving a legendary performance, but Tyrone Power, Loretta Young and Annabella all turn in performances that are vastly superior to the material. It doesn't hurt that each member of this trio is a joy to look at, or that Young is costumed in some stunning gowns. As a matter of fact, Suez is visually a treat all over, with lavish sets and evocative cinematography and some fine special effects. Among the last named, the climactic wind storm is especially deserving of mention, a sequence that must have been painful and difficult for Power and Annabella. Suez would have benefited from a sprightlier pace, and while director Allan Dwan handles the action segments with style and skill, he doesn't really pull the film together into a cohesive whole.