Fortune hunter Allan Quatermain teams up with a resourceful woman to help her find her missing father lost in the wilds of 1900s Africa while being pursued by hostile tribes and a rival German explorer.
J. Lee Thompson
Three adventurers lead an expedition into darkest Africa in search of the treasure of King Solomon, and on the way encounter hostile natives, volcanoes, dinosaurs and a lost Phoenician city ruled by a beautiful queen.
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Guide Allan Quatermain helps a young lady (Beth) find her lost husband somewhere in Africa. It's a spectacular adventure story with romance, because while they fight with wild animals and cannibals, they fall in love. Will they find the lost husband and finish the nice connection? Written by
Kornel Osvart <email@example.com>
On the set, cast and crew suffered from stifling heat, dysentery, malaria, fever, snakes and tsetse flies. The most bizarre danger, however, came from the indigenous Masai tribal members who were performing in the film. For one sequence, the Masai chiefs lifted the ban on ancient ceremonial dances so the film unit could observe their old war rituals. Five hundred warriors got so wound up chanting, dancing and screaming for two days, that they went berserk and began actually hurling their spears at the westerners. Deborah Kerr scrambled high up a tree for safety. Eventually calmer heads prevailed, but seven spears found their way into the camera case. See more »
The rifle that Quatermain finds on top of the mountain (Curtis's rifle) is a Winchester model of 1895. Given of period of the story, 1897, such a rifle could not have been in Africa. See more »
I've always maintained that this version of King Solomon's Mines along with The African Queen changed forever the face of Africa for the American audience. Our ideas of Africa were mainly developed by the Africa we saw created on studio back-lots for 20 years.
MGM had tried before to show a realistic Africa in Trader Horn, but the cost was prohibitive and the film never recouped the expense of making it, especially during the Depression. Audiences after World War II wanted a little more realism in their cinema. Fantasy they got from that machine they starting staring into in 1947 in their living rooms.
They also selected an excellent book to film. H. Rider Haggard had spent some years in the British Colonial Service in Africa. He was a pretty good observer of what was around him, even though his writing is tinged with the white man's burden attitude so common in the 19th Century.
The film is not a faithful adaption of Haggard's work, but it's pretty close to it. Deborah Kerr is a woman looking to hire Stewart Granger who's the best reputed guide in Africa. She's looking for her husband, not sure if he's dead or alive. Granger agrees to take her on safari along with one of her husband's friends played by Richard Carlson.
This allows for a certain amount of sexual tension between Granger and Kerr and in fact the two of them had an extra marital affair. Carlson's part is essentially colorless. I think he's along mainly to provide a sounding board for Kerr and her changing attitudes about Africa and Granger.
The jungle photography is fabulous, the film is worth it for that alone. Granger and Kerr create some good characterizations and the native Africans are good in their roles.
King Solomon's mines had such an impact that even the later Tarzan films had a more realistic look about them. An absolutely must see item.
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