One movie that i wanted to se for a long time was Merian C. Cooper’s She. I’d read about it and seen stills from it, but the actual movie never seemed to show up on TV or, later, on VHS. Finally, a couple of years ago I came across a used DVD of it (I never saw a DVD of it when it was new). It was fortuitous --not only was it a restored version, but it had been colorized. Some colorization is blasphemous, but in this case the film was originally supposed to be filmed in color, but they pulled the plug on that at the last minute. Not only that, but the colorization was overseen by Ray Harryhausen. He not only condemned the colorization of King Kong, but he heartily endorsed this case. And you know he loved the movie – he lifted scenes from it for two of his own movies.
I’d already read H. Rider Haggard’s book more than once. Cooper (who had made King Kong the previous year) brought over a lot of the same production crew, and re-used the giant wall with its enormous imposing Gate from Kong (newly dressed up, though). The story of explorers finding a Lost Civilization had been told in numerous cheap serials, but this showed what it could look like with a Big Budget (albeit not big enough for color). The climax, with its special effects, was pretty impressive, especially with color added.
Sensibilities have definitely changed. You couldn’t make the film today, for lots of reasons (although they were saved from one big problem when they decided to change the locale from Africa (where the novel was set) to the Himalayas (where Haggard’s sequel was set), apparently because they wanted to distance themselves from the jungle setting of Kong. The idea of a Cruel White Queen ruling a black kingdom really wouldn’t fly today.(Disney, though, pretty clearly stole the look of Ayesha as the Cruel Queen and adapted it for the Evil Queen in their Snow White a few years later)