From The Warner Archive: The Awakening, 1980 (dir. Mike Newell)

Die hard Charleton Heston fans will rejoice at the release of the cult classic mummy flick The Awakening, now available through the Warner Archive.

Mike Newell is perhaps best known now for his work on Best Picture nominee Four Weddings and a Funeral and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. 1980’s The Awakening was the director’s first feature film and the third film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s 1903 novel The Jewel of Seven Stars. While I do agree with many critics of the time who said the pacing of the film is way too slow, I will say hints of Newell’s future talent can be found.

Really, though, what makes this film truly worth while is Jack Cardiff’s cinematography, which is, as always, to die for. Cardiff was the ultimate painter of light, known for his strong working relationship with auteurs Powell and Pressburger. If only the film itself could live up to Cardiff’s masterful work.

Heston has definitely been better, but I wouldn’t say he’s bad in this film. He gives the character his all. But a great performance can’t always save a so-so character. He does, however, rock a killer beard.

Best known for Tom Jones and her Oscar nominated work in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, Susannah York is great as his assistant who later becomes his wife. Also gives Indiana Jones a run for his money for hottest cinematic archaeologist ever. Also, in the latter half the film, the greatest shock in the film comes at her expense.

Stephanie Zimbalist, best know for playing sleuth Laura Holt opposite Pierce Brosnan on the television show Remington Steele, plays Heston’s daughter who is born the night he discovers the cursed mummy’s tomb and, when she comes of age, becomes possessed by it. While she is luminous under Cardiff’s brilliant cinematography, she just doesn’t translate all that well on-screen.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a review disc given to me by the Warner Archive, though the opinions are all my own.

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About cinemafanatic

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on June 22, 2012, in Classic Film, DVDs and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Nice to read a review of THE AWAKENiNG that doesn’t tear it to pieces. I have always loved this movie, and I was very disappointed that there were no extras on the DVD.

  1. Pingback: June 2012 in Films: Birthdays and Jobs and Movies Galore « the diary of a film history fanatic

  2. Pingback: Oscar Vault Monday – Four Weddings and a Funeral, 1994 (dir. Mike Newell) « the diary of a film history fanatic

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