King Solomon's Mines
Director: Robert Stevenson
Directors: Compton Bennett & Andrew Morto

WATUSI. 1959
Director: Kurt Neumann

Director: Alvin Rakoff

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Gaumont British Corporation funded this version of H. Rider Haggard's 1885 classic adventure novel King Solomon's Mines. Direction was by Robert Stevenson whose later work included the surprisingly worthwhile Disney lost race film The Island at the Top of the World.

It stars [Sir] Cedrick Hardwicke as Allan Quatermain, John Loder as Sir Henry Curtis, Roland Young providing comic relief as Commander Good, Paul Robeson as Umbopa, & Sydney Fairbrother as scary Gagool.

Robeson was a great actor who due to racism rarely got to play a great role even after his stunning (though segregated) reprisal of his stage performance for the film Showboat. He makes a lot of the limited opportunity the Umbopa character privided; & though the interuption in the action is a little out of place, it's actually pretty nice that he was even permitted to sing three songs.

King Solomon's MinesAnna Lee plays Kathy O'Brien who hired Quatermain to help her find her father (Arthur Sinclair) in darkest Africa. Good special effects for the day & pleasing black & white cinematography, this was the first truly significant filming of any work of Haggard's classic. Not flawless, but definitely worth ferreting out.

In the 1950 version Stewart Granger played Quatermain; a delightful Deborah Kerr co-starred as Elizabeth O'Brien who hires Allan to help find her missing husband. Both Granger & Kerr provide performances that make the story credible & captivating, with authentic African settings.

The film had three Oscar nominations & won two, for Best Color Cinematography & for WatusiBest Film Editing. Most regard this the best adaptation of King Solomon's Mines even though the mine itself is just a cave with some treasure in it & with some vanished race's idol covering up the entryway, & of course it lacks Paul Robeson.

The 1959 film Watusi was marketed as a sequel to 1959's King Solomon's Mines. It was so loosely based on Haggard's own sequel, Allan Quatermain (1887) that little of the original novel can be detected.

Allan Quatermain's son Harry (George Montgomery) comes to Africa to resume his father's quest for the legendary mines. So much film is recycled from the earlier film that the previous actors are occasionally seen in long shots. Scarsely worth tracking down.

King Solomon's TreasureKing Solomon's Treasure (1976) has a little more to do with the source novel Allan Quatermain, but only a little. This Canadian-produced telefilm stars John Colicos as Quatermain, who organizes a safari to find King Solomon's treasures, which is guarded by a dinosaur, at the cite of a lost Phoenician city ruled by Queen Nypeptha (Britt Eklund) in the depths of Africa.

Though no great shakes, King Solomon's Treasure is vastly to be preferred over Watusi, for a lovely supporting cast gives it their all, including A lovely supporting cast includes Wilfrid Hyde-White as Allan's fellow Club Member; Patrick Macnee as Captain Good; David McCallum as Sir Henry Curtis, David McCallum as Sir Henry Curtis, & Ken Gumpu as Umslopogaas.

See also the Richard Chamberlain vehicles:
King Solomon's Mines & Allan Quatrermain & the Lost City of Gold
as well as Michael Crichton's H. Rider Haggard tribute:
not to mention, adaptations of Haggard's

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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