For those who love thrilling, large-scale adventure films loaded with action and exotic scenery, KING SOLOMON'S MINES is your cup of colonialist tea. MGM spent $3.5 million--a fortune in those days--in producing this highly engaging old-fashioned entertainment.
Great white hunter Allan Quartermain (Granger) is hired by the beautiful Elizabeth (Kerr) and her brother (Carlson) to help find Elizabeth's husband, who disappeared while searching for the fabled diamond mines of King Solomon. Their party goes through swamps and forests, over mountains and
deserts, and flees nasty natives and stampeding animals in their search.
One of the most majestically filmed adventure tales ever put on celluloid, the film copped cinematographer Surtees a deserved Oscar for his efforts. The production went first to Nairobi and then, via specially built trucks and airplanes, to Tanganyika and the Belgian Congo, covering more than
14,000 miles and contending with temperatures soaring between 140 and 152 degrees and a wide variety of exotic diseases, snakes and flies. The footage of African natives (e.g. a Watusi dance) is fascinating and persuasive, and some efforts were made to portray the dignity of African tribal life.
The imperialism of it all might get you hot under the collar, but don't despair entirely--the Africans are the most interesting characters in the film.
To be fair, the Hollywoodians are pretty decent and throw themselves into the bracing if silly spirit of the whole enterprise. Granger isn't sexy enough but he is stalwart, and Kerr expertly plays another one of those prim but horny types she was assigned to do every so often. So much excess
quality footage of Africa was left over that MGM went on a recurrent diet of jungle epics, using the stuff in, among others, WATUSI, TARZAN THE APE MAN, DRUMS OF AFRICA, TRADER HORN, and even the 1977 remake of KING SOLOMON'S MINES.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: For those who love thrilling, large-scale adventure films loaded with action and exotic scenery, KING SOLOMON'S MINES is your cup of colonialist tea. MGM spent $3.5 million--a fortune in those days--in producing this highly engaging old-fashioned entertain… (more)