David, now an old man, is still king of Israel. Among his sons, the ambitious Adonijah and the clever Solomon. The two young men are fierce rivals, since both are prospective heirs to the ... See full summary »
David, now an old man, is still king of Israel. Among his sons, the ambitious Adonijah and the clever Solomon. The two young men are fierce rivals, since both are prospective heirs to the throne and only one can be successful. During a hunting expedition, Adonijah challenges his younger brother Solomon to a chariot race. While Solomon, though brave, still retains a modicum of caution, the daredevil Adonijah is eager to win at all costs -- and loses control of his chariot. Solomon takes the seriously injured Adonijah back to Jerusalem. On the way there they meet the attractive Abishag, who despite her youth is versed in the use of healing herbs. She actually succeeds in helping the prince. Adonijah falls in love with Abishag -- but Bathsheba arranges things so that she works for David, hoping that her youth, her beauty and her healing powers will soothe the old king's suffering. Several members of the influential priesthood and also the respected army general Joab, who served David ... Written by
Although at times the story does drag, this television movie about the man who took the Kingdom of Israel to the apogee of its power only to have it fall apart after its demise, the film does stick pretty close to biblical scripture as is dramatically possible. After all we do have to make the story interesting and their are a lot of blank spaces left in the Bible. All the better for a little dramatic license.
This is quite a bit different from the film Solomon and Sheba in which Yul Brynner took over from Tyrone Power. That film stopped with the defeat of brother Adonijah and his attempt to topple Solomon. This goes on right until the death of Solomon and the aftermath.
Ben Cross is a most human Solomon, granted by God the wisdom he sought to rule his kingdom, but still subject to human frailties. Cross as Solomon has a most healthy sexual appetite. In fact people including his greatest love, the Queen of Sheba played by Vivica Fox make him a present of some dancing girls, that is before she gives in to him. Like later rulers, Solomon makes political marriages and in those days if you could afford more than one wife men enjoyed polygamy. When he allowed foreign wives to worship their own Deities, that got everyone including the self described jealous God Jehovah upset.
After husband David's death, Bathsheba as played by Anouk Aimee exercises a great deal of influence behind the throne. She's a clever woman, the way Aimee plays her, she's not all that different from Sian Phillips as Claudia in I Claudius.
Another guy too clever by a half is Joab who moved to get Adonijah the throne. Joab was the commander of Israel's army under David and a man who took a lot on his own. Earlier in scripture he slew Absalom another of David's sons against the express order of his king. Played by television's Hercule Poirot David Suchet, Joab emerges as a reckless sort who gets dispatched probably for the good of Solomon's reign.
It is said in the Bible that Solomon's wives numbered in four figures and while that may have been good foreign policy, it didn't say much for the stability of home life and the example the king should set. After a while his own subjects are saying he's thinking with his groin, especially after the Queen Of Sheba leaves with their son, but Solomon increases the tax burden to set up an Israel to the south. We call it Ethiopia today.
Cross, Fox, and the rest of the cast do yeoman like service to the story of Solomon a complex figure that even religious scholars debate the merits of today.
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