What can it be this time?
Gini is tackling what Turner Classic Movies calls an adventure classic with 1950’s version of King Solomon’s Mines.
King Solomon’s Mines
This movie has been remade at least 4 times and has at least 3 other variations of it out there. Clearly, the lure of the Mines is strong. But is the lure worth it? Or, rather, is this version worth your time?
The 1950’s version of King Solomon’s Mines stars Stewart Granger as Allan Quartermain, Deborah Kerr as Elizabeth “Beth” Curtis, and Richard Carlson as Beth’s brother, John Goode.
Quartermain is basically a broken British expatriate semi-drunk who’s still managing to tough it out in Africa, despite the loss of his son. Into this life come Beth and John. Beth’s husband went off to search for King Solomon’s Mines and he’s been gone for years. Beth, assisted by John, wants to know if her husband is dead or alive. They enlist a reluctant Quartermain to guide them, and the adventure begins.
Along the way to the Mines they encounter wild animals, cannibals, treachery, and danger not only around every turn but potentially every action, while also helping their native guide Umbopa (Siriaque) of the Watusi Tribe to reclaim what is rightfully his. Also along the way, Beth and Quartermain force each other to face their greatest failings, and fall in love. Will Beth’s husband be alive or dead, and what will they find when the reach King Solomon’s Mines?
This film was shot entirely in Africa and that location setting helps the movie tremendously. Neither Quartermain nor Beth are portrayed as hugely likeable – the nicest person in the movie is John, followed closely by Umbopa. But the reasons for their personality issues come to light over the course of their trek through Africa, and that allows the audience to see what their individual failings and pains have created, as well as how they’re going to solve them, one way or the other.
The hubs adored this movie and I liked it well enough. The acting isn’t over the top, and while I found no one other than John and Umbopa likeable, I came to root for Quartermain and Beth, meaning the film had done its job.
This version of the story is epic in scope, with mature romantic leads who sell their romance believably, combined with an exciting and dangerous adventure of a lifetime. If you’re a fan of H. Rider Haggard’s Allan Quartermain stories, enjoy epic on-location movies, want to see adults doing the romance-in-danger thing, or just want to see a movie with a breathtaking stampede scene, the 1950 version of King Solomon’s Mines won’t disappoint.
4 stars out of 5
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