Valley of the Kings (1954) Robert Taylor / Eleanor Parker Trilogy Part 2
For the second pairing of Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker we are treated to a tale of Egypt circa 1900.
Our strapping hero is leading a dig in Egypt and is a stern task master lording over the men with the shovels. No sooner does he deck a would be thief when she of the flaming red hair turns up. Eleanor Parker in vivid color is always a sight to behold and Taylor takes notice. He immediately goes into leading man techniques and is visibly let down when he discovers that Miss Parker is married. Give it time Robert. Give it time.
It seems that Parker’s late father was a famed archaeologist whom Taylor has tried to emulate in his work. Believing her father was onto locating an undiscovered tomb that could prove some of the biblical stories are true she turns to Taylor to help in the search. With antiques dealer Leon Askin hovering about, our two leading stars are about to realize that they have competition in finding riches untold.
The search for clues will lead them as well as Parker’s on screen husband Carlos Thompson across the Red Sea, a desert trek by camel and to a mountain temple of Monks. When a sandstorm hits, many of the entourage are left for dead and Taylor and Parker become separated from the other surviving members including Parker’s hubby. Enter Victor Jory as a desert sheik. This will give way to some sword play allowing Taylor to prove to screen audiences he’s still a man of action.
Doubt creeps into Parker’s mind on the intentions of her new husband and Robert Taylor’s good looks only adds to her tormented thoughts. It seems that her hubby just might be in league with the forces of evil who seek to find the treasures and commit murder if need to be to keep them.
The trail of clues will lead them to the statues of Ramses II and ultimately to the famed Valley of the Kings. Along the way there is plenty of location filming using the pyramids and sphinx as a backdrop to our Hollywood stars. Taylor will tangle with the underground antique dealers as he and Eleanor search for the elusive first step in the sands that will lead to an unopened tomb.
Kings was written and directed by Robert Pirosh. It was just his third of five films behind the camera. He was more noted as a writer having won an Oscar for 1949’s Battleground. He would move mainly into writing for TV on series like The Waltons and Mannix as his career soldiered on.
Despite the location shoot there are still enough back screen shots to give doubt to the stars actually setting foot in Egypt. Thankfully there are scenes of the leading duo framed by the pyramids in the background to prove it wasn’t just a second unit team on location.
Like Secret of the Incas it’s hard to watch this adventure and not ponder if it had some kind of influence on the eventual Indiana Jones series and Spielberg and Lucas. Like Heston, Taylor makes for a great leading man and had they been of the right age they could easily have fit into the jacket and hat that Harrison Ford has made his own.
Parker and Taylor are again well suited to each other here. The adventurous backdrop and promise of romance allows them both to play off each other in winning fashion. Having previously done the straight drama Above and Beyond this offered their fans a thrilling adventure heightened by the far off locations caught on camera. Thankfully I still have the VHS copy to enjoy.
From here the attractive duo would have just one more title to come in 1955.