Sunday, March 07, 2010

She Who Must Be Obeyed

Fans of dubious literature, cheesy movies, or British television series may recognize that phrase. The first time I encountered it was in the H. Rider Haggard novel, "She", about a 3,000 year old woman who, along with another woman's husband, skipped out on all that Egyptian empire nonsense with pharaohs and mummies and whatnot. They ventured into uncharted Africa where She found the secret of eternal youth by bathing in the eternal flame of whatever. Conveniently, her lover died, otherwise the book wouldn't have had much of a plot. Jump forward a couple of millennial to some English adventurers exploring that same uncharted Africa when they stumble across She and her entourage. Hijinks ensue.

Someone just had to make a movie version of the book, of course, and they did so back in the 60s. It starred Ursula Andress as She. The whole thing leads up to her bathing in the flame thing again in order to show her new lover - the spittin' image of the old one who was apparently reincarnated - that the flames were indeed safe and USDA approved. She had to bathe naked or nearly naked, since her clothing would have caught fire, you know. To our lurid teenage imaginations there was little difference. Trust me, you won't watch this for the acting.

The movie inspired me. Oofda! I'd seen Ann Margret in "Bye, Bye, Birdie" too, and I knew what I wanted for Christmas. Sadly, it was not to be.

Years later, a British comedy appeared on PBS. "Rumpole of the Bailey" followed the ups and downs of barister Horace Rumpole. His wife telephoned him often, and he invariably rolled his eyes while covering the mouthpiece, saying, "It's She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed!"

When I first started writing a column for an amateur radio newsletter, SWMBO figured prominently. Most readers knew my wife and realized she's not the authoritarian type depicted. Far from it, in fact. I'm a lucky man. She hasn't tried to kill me yet.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home