Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile
Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile
Spanish poster for the film
Directed by Fernando Cherchio Produced by Ottavio Poggi Written by John Byrne
Starring Jeanne Crain
Cinematography Massimo Dallamano Editing by Renato Cinquini Distributed by Colorama Features (USA) Release date(s) September 20, 1961 (Italy)
January 15, 1964 (USA)
Running time 106 mins. (Italy)
97 mins. (USA)
Country Italy Language Italian
Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile is a 1961 Italian Sword-and-sandal historical drama written and directed by Fernando Cherchio and produced for MAX Film by Ottavio Poggi. The film stars Jeanne Crain, Edmund Purdom, and Vincent Price. Purdom had previously starred in The Egyptian (1954), which has a similar plot and characters.
The original Italian title of the film is Nefertiti, regina del Nilo.
In ancient Egypt, Tumos (Edmund Purdom), an apprentice sculptor, is in love with Tenet (Jeanne Crain), a beautiful girl who is to be dedicated to the gods as a priestess. Tumos and Tenet intend to elope, but the high priest Benakon (Vincent Price) learns of their plans. He has Tenet taken into custody and Tumos is condemned for violating religious laws. Tumos flees to the desert to join his friend prince Amenophis (Amedeo Nazzari), the heir to the throne. Amenophis is an effective warrior who has just defeated the Chaldeans. Among the Chaldean prisoners is Seper (Carlo D'Angelo), the priest of a new God Aten, who he claims to be the one true god. Seper proclaims a religion of love, and prophesies the imminent death of the old Pharaoh and the coming reign of Amenophis. The prophecy comes true. Before he returns to Thebes to become pharaoh Amenophis agrees to the marriage of Tenet and Tumos, and makes Seper one of his advisers.
In Thebes, the high priest Benakon reveals to Tenet that he is her father. He also tells her that she is not to be a priestess; the old pharaoh had agreed that she should marry Amenophis on his death. He gives her the new name Nefertiti and says she is to be the Queen of the Nile. Amenophis accepts her as his wife, unaware that Nefertiti is the same person as the "Tenet" he had given to Tumos. Tumos, an obstacle in the whole plan, has been arrested by Benakon. However, he soon escapes from prison. He survives being attacked by a lion, but Nefertiti is told he is dead. He is nursed by Merith (Liana Orfei), an artist's model who is in love with him.
Tumos soon learns that Nefertiti is married to pharaoh. He gets drunk and sleeps with Merith. When Nefertiti learns that Tumos is alive, she asks Amenophis to make him the court sculptor. He is to sculpt a bust of Nefertiti. While he works on it the couple renew their love. Meanwhile Benakon is disturbed by the influence of Seper's one true god. The religion of Aten is growing. His men burst into the Atenist church, killing Seper and many of the worshipers. Nefertiti is among them, but escapes with Tumos' help. Amenophis is disgusted by the killing. He proclaims that all idols are to be destroyed and the old priesthood abolished. However he forgives Benakon, to emphasise his devotion to the values of the new faith.
Benakon and his followers plan a rising against the new religion, but Nefertiti learns of their plans. Tumos leaves to bring an army to the city. Benakon's followers surround the royal palace. Paralysed by his new pacifist ideals, Amenophis has a mental breakdown. Nefertiti assumes command of the defence of the palace while waiting for Tumos to bring reinforcements. Horrified by the violence that religious conflict has unleashed, Amenophis stabs himself. Nefertiti and her guards make a last stand around the sculpture of the queen, but are overwhelmed. Tumos and Merith arrive just in time with the army, but Benakon nearly kills Tumos before Merith shoots him with her bow. The army restore Nefertiti to the throne. The famous bust of Nefertiti survives the centuries to prove the queen's magnificent beauty and Tumos' love for her.
- Jeanne Crain - Tenet/Nefertiti
- Vincent Price - Benakon
- Edmund Purdom - Tumos
- Amedeo Nazzari - Amenophis IV
- Liana Orfei - Merith
- Carlo D'Angelo - Seper
- Raf Baldassarre - Mareb
- Alberto Farnese - Dakim
- Clelia Matania - The wetnurse
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