King Solomon’s Mines

Elizabeth Curtis and her brother (Deborah Kerr, Richard Carlson) hire an adventurer (Stewart Granger) to help them locate Elizabeth’s husband who went missing in Africa while searching for the fabled King Solomon’s mines. One of the most acclaimed adaptations of the classic H. Rider Haggard novel has plenty of adventure on display, but also makes an effort to show the wildlife, environment and cultures of Africa in glorious color. The movie is however not as much of an adventure as one might expect; the high production values make it look more like a pretty postcard. This was Granger’s first American film and he’s launched as an archetypal hero to great effect.

1950-U.S. 102 min. Color. Produced by Sam Zimbalist. Directed by Compton Bennett, Andrew Marton. Screenplay: Helen Deutsch. Novel: H. Rider Haggard. Cinematography: Robert Surtees. Editing: Ralph E. Winters, Conrad A. Nervig. Cast: Deborah Kerr (Elizabeth Curtis), Stewart Granger (Allan Quatermain), Richard Carlson (John Goode), Hugo Haas.

Trivia: Footage from this film was used in dozens of later movies. Errol Flynn was allegedly first cast as Quatermain.

Oscars: Best Cinematography, Editing. Golden Globe: Best Cinematography.

Last word: “I kept my mouth shut. How could I tell [Zimbalist] what I knew, that James Mason and producer Sydney Box had directed ‘The Seventh Veil’ [1946] and all Bennett had done was to say ‘action’ and ‘cut,’ after being given his instructions by those two. Unfortunately for everyone involved, I said nothing.” (Granger on Bennett, TCM)

 

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