Movie Review: King Solomon's Mines (1950)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1950 epic starring Stewart Granger as the legendary hunter Allan Quatermain.

Synopsis: A professional hunter and guide thinks about leaving Africa and going back home to England after his last safari ended in a fatal tragedy. However, a wealthy woman instead convinces him to guide her through an uncharted region of the continent as she searches for her husband, who went missing after traveling to that region in search of King Solomon’s mythical diamond mines.

Who's in it?

Review

I recorded this movie with the intention of watching it several months ago. However, I just could never seem to find the time to do it. This is because I figured it was a movie my wife and daughters wouldn’t enjoy (it’s not a genre they will typically watch with me) and, in all honesty, I wasn’t sure if I would really like the movie all that much either.

However, mostly as a way of clearing up some space on my DVR, I finally got around to watching this movie over my past couple of lunch breaks. And, I have to admit, I ended up enjoying it much more than I was expecting to.

One of the main reasons for this was the way the movie took the time to give us a proper introduction to the characters, especially the main hero Allan Quatermain (Granger).  This was a bit ironic considering I’m not usually a big fan of movies that take a long time to actually get to the action. But, in this particular case, it really was necessary because it helped to paint a proper picture of Quatermain’s personality, which is basically a man who can be bought for the right price but still has a strong sense of morality.

Another thing I really liked about this movie was the fact it was actually filmed in Africa. This, in my opinion at least, set it apart a bit from other films in this era because it didn’t have to rely heavily on stock footage (something that is a big pet peeve of mine when it comes to many films) and the backdrop was absolutely breath-taking at times. Heck, if I would have seen this when it first came out at the theater, I probably would have wanted to travel to Africa myself.

Kerr’s performance as the wealthy Elizabeth Curtis was also pretty memorable. I loved the fact she was such a strong presence on the screen (something, again, isn’t always the case with movies from this time period) and, at times, proved to be Quatermain’s equal. This, I think, made the various conversations between the two much more memorable than they might otherwise be.

King Solomon's Mines

King Solomon's Mines (1950) (DVD)

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Final Opinion

It took me a while to finally get around to watching this movie but, now that I have done just that, I can honestly say I should have seen it much sooner. It’s a film that is as good today as when it first came out at the theater in 1950.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 12/02/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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DerdriuMarriner on 10/22/2014

My first viewing of this movie was on TV in childhood, and I was captivated by it. I have revisited this movie several times since then. It has stood the test of time. Thank you for spotlighting this fifties classic.

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