After becoming king of ancient Israel, Solomon faces threats coming from his jealous dispossessed brother Adonijah, the Egyptian Pharaoh and the scheming Queen of Sheba.

Director:

King Vidor

Writers:

Crane Wilbur (story), Anthony Veiller (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Yul Brynner ... Solomon
Gina Lollobrigida ... Sheba
George Sanders ... Adonijah
Marisa Pavan ... Abishag
David Farrar ... Pharaoh
John Crawford ... Joab
Finlay Currie ... David
Harry Andrews ... Baltor
José Nieto ... Ahab (as Jose Nieto)
Maruchi Fresno ... Bathsheba
William Devlin William Devlin ... Nathan
Jack Gwillim ... Josiah
Jean Anderson ... Takyan
Laurence Naismith ... Hezrai (as Lawrence Naismith)
Julio Peña ... Zadok (as Julio Pena)
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Storyline

Shortly before his death in ancient Israel King David has a vision from God telling him that his younger son Solomon should succeed him as king. His other son Adonijah is unhappy and vows to attain the throne. Meanwhile the Egyptian Pharoah agrees to cede a Red Sea port to the Queen of Sheba if she can find a way to destroy Solomon, whose wisdom and benevolent rule is seen as a threat to more tyrannical monarchs in the region. Sheba, Pharoah, Adonijah, the leaders of the Twelve Tribes and his own God make life difficult for Solomon who is tempted by Sheba to stray. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Only once in 3000 years...anything like... See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the films included in "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (And How They Got That Way)" by Harry Medved and Randy Lowell. See more »

Goofs

The Ark of the Covenant is shown without the poles to carry it. "The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it".-Exodus 25:15 See more »

Quotes

Baltor: I have come to ask your permission to arrange your immediate departure.
Sheba: Yes. Let us go, quickly. There is no reason for us to remain now that I have accomplished my purpose.
Baltor: Your Majesty should not reproach herself. It was nothing more than a sudden storm. It is not the first time lightning has dealt death, nor will it be the last.
Sheba: Was it nothing more than a coincidence?
Baltor: Surely, Your Majesty cannot believe the Israelites, that it was a sign of the anger and revenge of their god?
Sheba: I no longer know ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in The Secret Life of Brian (2007) See more »

User Reviews

 
It is said that Solomon is wise. But no matter how wise he may be, he is still human, with a human weakness.
23 August 2015 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

Solomon and Sheba is directed by King Vidor and collectively written by Anthony Veiller, Paul Dudley, George Bruce and Crane Wilbur. It stars Yul Brynner, Gina Lollobrigida, Marisa Pavan, George Sanders, David Farrar, Harry Andrews, John Crawford and Laurence Naismith. Music is by Mario Nascimbene and cinematography by Fred A. Young.

A fictionalised screenplay cribs from parts of the Bible, where the story here follows the relationship between Solomon of Israel and the Queen of Sheba, a problem because initially Sheba is in league with Israel's enemy, Egypt. All that and Solomon has to deal with his nefarious brother, Adonijah, who is a little miffed that Solomon has inherited the crown of Israel.

Famously it was the production that saw the sad death of the leading man, Tyrone Power, while Vidor was so disillusioned about the whole film he quit making feature length films. It's a very mixed bag, very much showing the good and bad sides of the big historical epics that dominated Hollywood back in the day. In part it's a grandiose melodrama, in others it's cheap looking and given to campy histrionics (the orgy operatics sequences are just awful), while the screenplay jostles with itself as to being biblical blarney or potent pontifications.

Costuming and colour photography smooths the eyes, but then the optical nerves are shredded by set design so poor a child making paper mache boulders could have done better. The cast are also in and out, Brynner is fine as Solomon (broody, brainy but troubled), as is the lovely Lollobrigida as Sheba (stoic, smart and sexy), but the support slots barely convince. Sanders is badly miscast as Solomon's warrior brother Adonijah (he was 53 at the time), 10 years earlier in Samson and Delilah his villain turn worked, but not here.

Sword fighting choreography is poor, as are the miracle effects work, but conversely the big battle that crowns the story is smart in writing and in execution, where not even the model work can dim the thrill of it all. Released in the same year as "Ben-Hur" obviously does it no favours by comparison! But then so many other big swords and shields epics would also struggle as well. Vidor's movie is just above average in the genre pantheon, but the faults are irritable and hardly render it as a must see film for genre enthusiasts. 6/10


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Solomon and Sheba See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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