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‘She’ (NR)

By Marla Harper
Washington Post Staff Writer
August 27, 1989

Bring your mohair sweater and pretend these last few dog days are over. Escape to the polar region with "She," a classic black-and-white Arctic fantasy-adventure film by "King Kong" producer Merian C. Cooper. Showing Tuesday at Baird Auditorium, "She" is part of the Rohauer Collection, a film archive that includes 3,000 titles made between 1896 and 1970.

According to Alan Twyman, managing director of the collection, silent film star Buster Keaton was indirectly responsible for salvaging "She" and numerous other Hollywood classics once thought to be lost. "Raymond Rohauer was the first to invite filmmakers and/or stars to attend showings and discuss their contributions to film," said Twyman. Rohauer later created the Hollywood Film Society, and it was at one of its tributes that Keaton approached him and said, "I have a garage full of film -- maybe you'd be interested, young fella."

Rohauer found nitrates, prints and negatives of everything Keaton had been in, plus the original print of "She." After transferring the nitrates to safety stock, the two formed Buster Keaton Productions and began screening the lost classics in the early '70s.

" 'She' inspired other films," says Twyman. "The volcanic pit with snakes used in Spielberg's film 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' is modeled after a 'She' scene. And the colossal gate used in 'King Kong' was modified and opens to display the Ice Queen. We last see the infamous portal in 'Gone With the Wind,' where it was ignited for the burning of Atlanta."

This tale of a lost Arctic city and an Ice Queen who can never die (unless she falls in love) features special effects by Vernon Walker, Max Steiner's score, Ruth Rose's screenplay and 5,000 sets. Admirers of vintage Hollywood, be prepared.

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