Saturday, December 7, 2013

1981 - SPHINX - HItchcock wanna be thriller and travelogue

Actress and model Lesley-Anne Down was fairly hot in the mid 70's.  Today I doubt most people would have a hard time even recalling exactly who she was and what she appeared in.  Down was chiefly known for appearing in the British upper class/lower class drama Upstairs, Downstairs.  That show was the Downton Abbey of it's day and was very popular on PBS, sound familiar?

Down tried to use her popularity on that show to jump into a film career. She did a number of supporting roles in films before she got her big break in the film SphinxSphinx was directed by a fairly decent director, Franklin J, Schaffner who had directed Patton and was based on a novel by the then hot writer Robin Cook.  Sphinx is a thriller set in Egypt about the illegal buying and selling of ancient artifacts,  Lesley-Anne Down plays a noted Egyptologist who just happens to look like a hot model.  She pretty much throws any credibility this film has into the garbage.

On the positive side for this film, it is extremely well photographed and is if anything a nice record of all the traditional tourist hot spots of Egypt,  the Pyramids, The Valley of the Kings, Cairo, etc.  On the negative side the plot has a lot of holes and coincidences that it really stretches credibility to the point of maximum tensile strength. 

Lesley-Anne Down couldn't carry this film and it was back to TV movies and mini series for her after Sphinx flopped at the box office.  Another film with a miscast actor that suffered from the miscasting.

118 minutes.

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