Enticed by his dying uncle (Samuel S.Hinds), Leo Vincey (Randolph
Scott) embarks on an expedition to the Arctic with his friend Holly (Nigel
Bruce) to find a legendary kingdom his ancestor has found 500 years ago,
where there is a civilisation that knows the secret of eternal life (which
has something to do with cold fire).
After a long and perilous journey, the two of them, together with young
Tanya (Helen Mack), the daughter of their guide (Lumsden Hare) who got too
greedy for his own good, do actually find a cave that leads to an unknown
realm, and the queen of this realm, Hash-a-mo-tep (Helen Gahagan),
She-who-must-be-obeyed (short form: She), really seems to be immortal,
since in Leo she seems to recognize his own ancestor, her lover, from 500
years ago. & while She shows little interest in his companions, she
cares for good Leo like nobody's business, & soon enough Leo, who has
fallen in love with Tanya only minutes ago, falls for She & agrees to
be her King, to rule on her side. She even promises him to give him
immortality by letting him bathe in the cold fire.
It is only at his crowning and immortalisation ceremony, when She wants
to sacrifice Tanya to the gods, that Leo sees Her true colours, sides with
his companions agaibn, & against all odds, the trio manages to escape
... to suddenly find themselves in She's secret temple,where she first
threatens them, then mocks them by bathing in her cold fire ... but the
cold fire now has a reverse effect, as it makes her older by the minute
& finally kills her, & even her body dissolves (as is to be
expected from a 500 year old corpse).
Back in civilisation, Leo, Holly & Tanya realize their tale is too
fantastic to be told.
In terms of set-designs & special effects, the film is, given its
time of production, great, almost breathtaking ... but unfortunately
whatever the film has to offer on a visual level it lacks on a narrative
level: the story is just a tad too boring, the adventure soon gives way to
a needlessly long romance plot & the build-up to the finale is simply
missing ... which is nothing short of a pity.