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August 06, 2008

Belphegor: Phantom of the Louvre

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Belphegor: Le Fantome du Louvre
Jean-Paul Salome - 2001
Lionsgate Region 1 DVD

Belphegor is proof, should anyone need it, that I will watch Julie Christie in just about anything. The film is based on a novel which was also the source of a French mini-series officially. I can't vouch for any previous tellings of the story, but the film I saw combined elements from The Mummy, both the original by Karl Freund and the CGI version by Stephen Sommers, plus Ghostbusters and The Exorcist. That the film is French doesn't make it any better. Even a brief nude shot of Sophie Marceau does little on behalf of this time waster.

Christie plays an English Egyptologist who come to the Louvre to help identify a mummy found about seventy years ago. The spirit of the mummy flies in and out of Sophie Marceau who conveniently lives right across the street from the Louvre. The film starts off with some shots of the Sphinx, its face shot off by Napoleon. Even though the story is mostly about this mummy wanting to regain its needed artifacts for his journey to the underworld, I had to think that maybe it was payback time for France. As if anyone missed it, a character even mentions the various Egyptian artifacts in Paris, plus the pyramid at the Louvre.

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Christie gives this film more class than it deserves. The best parts are of her flirting with police inspector Michel Serrault. Christie is more seductive with a glance than Sophie Marceau can achieve with her entire body, so much so that the mature would-be lovers are more interesting to watch than the younger stars. Juliette Greco also appears briefly for those who may be interested. Strangely, that is Christie speaking French in the French language version, but not her in the English language version. Most damning of all is that I actually nodded out a couple of times while watching Belphegor. But, hey, Julie Christie's in it!

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Posted by Peter Nellhaus at August 6, 2008 12:40 AM


Is it wrong that I now really want to see this? Reading your review should put me off of seeing the movie but Julie Christie + mummies just sounds like a whole lot of fun to me.

Posted by: Kimberly at August 12, 2008 03:59 PM

I wouldn't say it's wrong. What I would say is not to watch this film with other than low expectations.

Posted by: Peter Nellhaus at August 12, 2008 04:48 PM