King Solomon's Mines (1950)
Full Cast and Crew for King Solomon's Mines (1950)
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Original Music by
Film Editing by
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Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Awards for King Solomon's Mines (1950)
Academy Awards, USA
1951 Won Oscar Best Cinematography, Color
1951 Won Oscar Best Film Editing
1951 Nominated Oscar Best Picture
Golden Globes, USA
1951 Won Golden Globe Best Cinematography - Color
AMG Info for King Solomon's Mines (1950)
USA (1950)- 102 min. - Feature, Color
Amazon.com Review for King Solomon's Mines (1950)
Adventure yarns don't come more ripping than King Solomon's Mines, the classic Great White Hunter tale. Novelist H. Rider Haggard's hero, Allan Quatermain (Stewart Granger), reluctantly agrees to lead an Englishwoman (Deborah Kerr) and her brother (Richard Carlson) deep into uncharted territory in Africa, in search of the lady's lost husband. What follows is a cavalcade of boys' adventure stuff: charging rhinos, cannibals, an incredible wildlife stampede, and the back-of-the-neck-tingly thrill of venturing into unmapped lands. The location shooting, including tribal rituals, is marvelous throughout, and the movie manages to pack a great deal of material into 102 minutes without ever seeming rushed. A remake of a 1937 film, King Solomon's Mines was itself remade badly, with Richard Chamberlain, in 1985, and Quatermain was essayed by Sean Connery in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but purists will prefer Stewart Granger's stalwart-yet-sardonic hero--his career never quite got over the role.
CineBooks' Motion Picture Guide Review for King Solomon's Mines (1950)
US (1950): Adventure
For those who love thrilling, big-scale adventure films loaded with action and exotic scenery, KING SOLOMON'S MINES is a must. MGM spent a fortune (for those days), $3,500,000, in producing this wonderful movie that has something for everyone.
A dangerous village. Allan Quartermain and Elizabeth don't much care for each other, but she soon learns to listen to the veteran guide as they encounter all manner of hazards on the arduous journey. When they come to a small village they meet a sleazy criminal Van Brun (Hugo Haas) on the run from the law. It soon becomes apparent to Allan Quartermain that Van Brun has no intention of letting them leave the village alive, fearing they will report his whereabouts to authorities. Allan Quartermain takes Van Brun hostage and they escape from the village, pursued by hostile villagers. They evade their pursuers, but Van Brun is killed in a struggle with Allan Quartermain.
A Watusi king. Now alone, their bearers having been killed or deserted them, the three adventurers press on. They encounter a tall, very dignified native who tells them he is making a journey in the same direction and offers to be their bearer. The four proceed to the beautiful rolling hills of the Watusi where it turns out that their silent bearer is the king of the Watusi who has returned to claim the throne taken from him by a usurper. The impostor king gives the whites a cool reception, then his medicine man makes a move toward the trio and Allan Quartermain shoots him. This cows the tribe and the pretender to the throne, who assigns several of his warriors to escort the whites to the legendary mines.
King Solomon's mines. Once the three are inside the huge cavern, however, the entrance is sealed by the warriors and they are trapped. Inside, they find the incredible wealth of King Solomon, huge chests and barrels packed with diamonds. They also find the skeletal remains of Elizabeth's missing husband. Then Allan Quartermain notices a downdraft, and the three find a narrow passage through the rocks which they follow to freedom.
A safe return. They make their way back to the village where they witness a confrontation between their friend, the real king, and the pretender. The two men duel with spears and shields while the tribe encircles them, waiting to proclaim the victor king. The real king manages to kill the pretender and take his rightful throne. He and his tribe are now friendly toward the visitors, and the king provides bearers and supplies so the whites can return to civilization. By this time the animosity between Elizabeth and Allan Quartermain has changed to deep affection and it is obvious they will marry.
A great white hunter. Granger is particularly excellent as the all-knowing white hunter invented by Sir Henry Rider Haggard , a gentleman explorer-hunter who spent many years in Africa. Haggard's King Solomon's Mines matched Africa's wonders and perils with his finest hero, Allan Quartermain, and Granger's performance as Quartermain put him into superstar status.
KING SOLOMON'S MINES was Granger's first star-billed appearance in an American film, however he almost didn't appear in the picture. Errol Flynn had been the first choice for the daring white hunter role but he became involved in another major production, KIM (1950), and so the part went to Granger. He was thirty-seven years old at the time, and the makeup people added white to his temples to give him deeper maturity as the great white hunter.
Besides the heat and disease, there were other dangers. At one point the chiefs of the Masai lifted the ban on the ancient dances so that the film company could see how they performed their old war rituals. More than 500 warriors chanted, writhed, jumped, and screamed for two days, accompanied by incessant drumming; finally, in mass hysteria, the warriors began to hurl their spears at the whites, until calmer leaders stopped dozens of them by sitting on their heads.
Seven spears were plucked out of the camera case and Kerr was found high in a tree where she had climbed when the spears began to fly. To entertain the natives, the company showed a film, PERFECT STRANGERS (VACATION FROM MARRIAGE), starring Kerr. Before the end of reel one, Kerr's own porter stood up and began to walk away. Pointing to the screen, he said to an interpreter: "Can't be. She's up there and she's here. Can't be!"
Despite this incident, Kerr turned out to be the most sturdy member of the crew. Cinematographer Surtees later remembered: "Sure it was tough. Most of us became ill—at one time we had only four members of the crew left behind the cameras, and 500 natives in front of it. All of us must have been homesick many times. But there was always Deborah, ready for whatever was next, without a complaint of any sort. A man just couldn't gripe."
Excess footage used. Director Compton Bennett was so utterly exhausted after the five-month shooting schedule that Andrew Marton finished off the film. Producer Sam Zimbalist later claimed that Marton directed half the film and was responsible for most of the miles of incredible footage captured by Surtees' cameras. In fact, there was so much excess footage of great quality that MGM kept using it up in many movies, including WATUSI (1959), TARZAN, THE APE MAN (1959), DRUMS OF AFRICA (1963), TRADER HORN (1973), and even the 1977 remake of this film called KING SOLOMON'S TREASURE which marked the third sound version of the story. The first was a British production released in 1937 starring Cedric Hardwicke.
Pauline Kael Review for King Solomon's Mines (1950)
US (1950): Adventure
A smashing kitsch entertainment—H. Rider Haggard's 1886 pulp adventure novel about a search for legendary African diamond mines, given the full MGM Technicolor treatment, and with an additional romance between an English lady on safari (Deborah Kerr) and the valiant white guide (Stewart Granger) provided by the scenarist, Helen Deutsch. You have to be prepared to put part of your mind to sleep, so that you don't get too outraged by the colonialist underpinnings of this sort of fiction; the noblest character is the loyal black servant Umbopa (played by Siriaque, a Watusi), who turns out to be the Mashona chief. (In the 1937 British version, Paul Robeson was a magnificent smiling Umbopa.) But one can enjoy this picture for its superb showmanship (and the Watusi dances and the stunning native fabrics). The film was shot in the African highlands—at Murchison Falls and Mount Kenya—and the elephants and mandrills and leopards and cobras are all startlingly clear and close. It's one exciting incident after another, and there's even a suggestion of sex, when Kerr and Granger wake after a night of hiding high in a tree and look passionately at each other. (An incident early on, when an elephant tramples a native, may frighten small children, but children generally love the rest of the film.) Produced by Sam Zimbalist; directed by Compton Bennett and Andrew Marton; cinematography by Robert Surtees, who won the Academy Award for it. With Richard Carlson, Hugo Haas, and Lowell Gilmore. Also with Kimursi, of the Kipsigi tribe, and Sekaryongo and Baziga, of the Watusi tribe; the Africans take all the acting honors. (A cut-rate sequel, WATUSI, in 1959 had a script by James Clavell.)
Leonard Maltin Review for King Solomon's Mines (1950)
US (1950): Adventure
Remake of H. Rider Haggard story is given polished production, with Granger-Kerr-Carlson trio leading safari in search for legendary diamond mines. Scripted by Helen Deutsch. This won Oscars for Cinematography (Robert Surtees) and Editing; excess footage used in WATUSI and other later jungle films. Remade in 1985.
Memorable Quotes from King Solomon's Mines (1950)
Allan Quatermain: ...in the end you begin to accept it all... you watch things hunting and being hunted, reproducing, killing and dying, it's all endless and pointless, except in the end one small pattern emerges from it all, the only certainty: one is born, one lives for a time then one dies, that is all...
Goofs for King Solomon's Mines (1950)
Continuity: When they are floating in the water, escaping the mountain, Elizabeth goes underwater. When she and her brother meet up with Quatermain at the end of the tunnel, her hair is dry and set.
King Solomon's Mines (1950)
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
Available Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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