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King Solomon's Mines (1985)

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.

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(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Colonel Bockner
...
Dogati
Ken Gampu ...
June Buthelezi ...
Sam Williams ...
...
Kassam (as Shai K. Ophir)
Fidelis Cheza ...
Mapaki Chief (as Fidelis Chea)
Mick Lesley ...
Dorfman
Vincent Van der Byl ...
Shack (as Vincent Van Der Byl)
Bob Greer ...
Hamid
Oliver Tengende ...
Bushiri
Neville Thomas ...
German Pilot
Bishop McThuzen ...
Dari (as Bishop Mcthuzen)
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Storyline

Allan Quatermain is a fortune hunter who is convinced by Jesse Huston to help her find her father, who's been lost somewhere in the African jungle during his last exploration. Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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The Adventure of a Lifetime See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

22 November 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Las minas del rey Salomón  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$238,227 (USA)
 »

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Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(as Dolby Stereo)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sharon Stone once remarked that her contribution to these two films consisted of "a bad hairdo running through the jungle". The difficulties in making the two movies, as well as the collapse of her first marriage, is what convinced Sharon to next work on Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987), to have some fun after a difficult period in her life - "hanging out with a gang of comedians, it was the best therapy". See more »

Goofs

Inside the mines, Jessie wears trousers that are much shorter than earlier in the movie, even right before entering the mines. See more »

Quotes

Colonel Bockner: Zurueck! Ihr verdammten schwarzen Idioten! Back! You black f**king idiots!
Dogati: With their great understanding of German that should certainly bring them back!
See more »

Connections

Version of King Solomon's Mines (1919) See more »

Soundtracks

Ride of the Valkyries
(uncredited)
By Richard Wagner
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User Reviews

 
How the 1980s managed to be less politically correct than the 1880s
31 March 2011 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

H. Rider Haggard's "King Solomon's Mines" has been filmed a number of times, but this is the only version I have ever seen. It is only very loosely based on the original novel; a greater influence seems to have been the first two episodes of the Indiana Jones franchise. The action is brought forward from the 1880s to the time of the First World War in order to make the main villain a German; "Raiders of the Lost Ark" had been set in the 1930s with Nazi villains. Haggard's Allan Quatermain becomes an action hero based on Indy himself, complete with bush hat (although without the bullwhip). Like Indy, Quatermain has a glamorous young female companion, Jessie Huston (who bears certain similarities to Willie in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom"). His male companions from the original novel, apart from the faithful African servant Umbopa, disappear.

The 1980s are sometimes regarded as the decade which gave birth to the concept of political correctness, but there is little evidence of it in this film. (There is not a lot of evidence of it in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" either). For a film made in 1985, "King Solomon's Mines" achieves the difficult task of being, by a considerable margin, less politically correct than its source novel, published exactly one hundred years earlier. Haggard is never entirely free of late-Victorian assumptions about race, but he does treat his African characters with dignity and allows them major roles in his novel as heroes and heroines, not merely as villains. He even allows himself a romance between the African maiden Foulata and the white Englishman Captain Good.

Interracial romances might have been acceptable to readers in 1880s England, but cinema audiences in 1980s America seem to have been more puritanical on this point. Neither Foulata nor Good appears in the film, and Quatermain's love-interest is supplied by the white Jessie, played by a young Sharon Stone. American squeamishness about mixed-race romance does not appear to have diminished in the quarter-century since 1985; in the recent film version of "Around the World in Eighty Days" Phileas Fogg's love-interest was a white Frenchwoman, not an Indian woman as in Jules Verne's novel.

The most offensive thing abut the film, however, is the treatment of the African tribe, the Kakuanas. In Haggard's version they may have been noble savages, but here they are portrayed as ignoble ones, bloodthirsty cannibals who love to cook white people in a huge iron cauldron. This same old cartoon cliché comes up in the 1950s movie "Gentleman Marry Brunettes", but at least there its offensiveness is somewhat mitigated by its being presented in the context of a stage show; in "King Solomon's Mines", by contrast, the film actually appears to be suggesting that this is how real Africans behave. Ethnic stereotyping is not confined to Africans; we also have a treacherous, sadistic Turk and a ruthless, bullying German colonel.

The film's problems are not confined to its racial attitudes. It was evidently made on a much lower budget than the Indiana Jones films, and the action sequences and special effects are not in the same class. The story is frequently illogical, confusing or both. Richard Chamberlain makes a lightweight action hero compared to Harrison Ford and Sharon Stone does not show any evidence of the qualities which would later make her a major star, other than her sex appeal which is much on display. About halfway through the film someone obviously thought that Sharon was not showing enough of her sex appeal, as it is notable that throughout the later scenes her shorts gradually get shorter and tighter, until she ends up wearing a pair of minuscule hot-pants which in the 1910s would probably have got their wearer arrested for indecency. Male viewers, however, might as well enjoy the sight of Sharon's legs; there is precious little else in this movie to keep anyone amused. The only thing that surprises me is that the film-makers evidently thought highly enough of the film to follow it with a sequel "Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold" It is sad to think that the director J. Lee Thompson was once responsible for films as good as "Yield to the Night", "Ice-Cold in Alex" and "Cape Fear". 3/10


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