Release date: April 18, 1945
Directed by: John Rawlins
Starring: Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Turhan Bey, Andy Devine
Box office: n/a
After the death of her father, the young Naila becomes queen of the ancient Egyptian kingdom of Khemis. However, she is captured and enslaved and must find her way back to the throne.
With its visually appealing scenery and costumes Sudan feels as if it could be an enjoyable epic. It delivers the exact opposite.
Employing an incredibly basic plot, following a high-ranking person suddenly being ousted from their position and beginning the long journey back. The problem is the film doesn’t do anything interesting with it. Naila traverses all the obvious elements found in this kind of story, never deviating from the stereotypical trappings her kind of journey produces. It doesn’t even begin well either, following a poorly introduced character with no purpose to the plot who the audience will never see nor care about ever again.
The characters are all bland cardboard cutouts too. Nalia is the stubborn princess who becomes queen upon her father’s death, Merab and Nebka are the straight man and comedic joker duo who tag along in the journey back, Herua is the stout leader the rebels look up to and so on and so forth. None of them have any personality to speak of, making it difficult to really care about anyone in this film.
The dullness of the characters is only compounded by the acting found in this film, or lack thereof. Nearly every performance in this film is as wooden as possible, evoking the feeling that none of them actually wanted to be in it. What should be a harrowing tale about an ousted queen trying to get back to the throne feels like an everyday occurrence based on the amount of emotion the actors are showing. The only person in this film who seems like they’re even trying is Devine as Nebka and all he does throughout the film is act as the comedic relief. It’s difficult to care about what’s going on when the only actor giving any weight to their performance is the one joking about the whole thing.
Pacing is an issue as well. At first, it’s a slow plod before the viewers can even meet the main character before speeding up, barely giving them a chance to attach themselves to her. Numerous times throughout the film, the pacing speeds up and slows down, creating the impression the director couldn’t decide whether he wanted to create a slow epic or a fast-paced adventure film. The finished product is neither.
This film is plain boring and not even worth picking up from a bargain bin.