Based on the best seller by Mika Waltari set in 18th dynasty Egypt, Michael Curtiz' massive epic tells the story of a physician (Edmund Purdom), who becomes friend and doctor to the Pharaoh Akhnaton (Michael Wilding), and his adventures amid the religious and political intrigues of the enlightened but doomed Pharaoh's reign. With the exception of the tedious proselytizing about God toward the film's end, the film is quite an impressive, eye popping example of the Hollywood historical epic at its peak and much more entertaining than stuff like THE ROBE. Unfortunately, it's saddled with the bland Purdom as its central character though I'm not sure anyone could have made such a passive character interesting, even Brando (who turned the part down). Some of it is in the writing and the characters and not even a fine actress like Jean Simmons can do much with the saintly tavern maid who falls for Purdom. Much more lively and devious are the Victor Mature as the politically ambitious soldier, Gene Tierney as the wicked sister of the Pharaoh, Peter Ustinov as the lazy thieving rascal of a man servant and Bella Darvi as the evil and narcissistic Babylonian courtesan. With Judith Evelyn, Henry Daniell, John Carradine and Tommy Rettig. The film's excellent score is by two of the greatest, Alfred Newman and Bernard Herrmann and Leon Shamroy's CinemaScope lensing received an Oscar nomination.
The DVD import from Spain is a vivid and eye pleasing anamorphic 2.35 transfer.