Immense crowd scenes, luxurious costuming, and extravagant set pieces that devolved into logistical nightmares: Howard Hawks’s big-budget epic about the building of the pyramids was the severest, most costly flop of his career. Praised early and prophetically by Cahiers du Cinéma, Land of the Pharaohs would emerge as one of the most fascinating movies of Hawks’s productive career. A cult classic for its overheated passion and high-camp dialogue (courtesy of, among other screenwriters, William Faulkner), it also ranks among the most revealing self-exposés in Hollywood cinema: a product of enormous organized labor that doubles as a wild, dramatic staging of precisely that kind of labor gone excessive and awry.