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King Solomon's Mines NR CC

(15) IMDb 6.5/10

Paul Robeson plays an exiled tribal chief who guides a group of explorers searching for a legendary diamond mine, through the dangerous jungles of Africa.

Starring:
Paul Robeson, Cedric Hardwicke
Runtime:
1 hour, 21 minutes

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 3, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There have been plenty of adaptations of "King Solomon's Mines," the first of H. Rider Haggard's adventure novels. And the 1937 version is a solid if uninspired adaptation, with some good-to-excellent acting and a fairly faithful script, although I'm not sure where the Irish pair came from.

A strange wagon arrives at the camp of hunter Allan Quartermaine (Cedric Hardwicke), who's escorting a group of Europeans to the African coast. An unlucky Irish prospector goes off with the wagon, and a copy of a treasure map that supposedly leads to King Solomon's diamond mines. When Quartermaine refuses to go back after him, the prospector's daughter Kathy (Anna Lee) secretly makes off with his wagons.

Led by a mysterious native named Umbopa (Paul Robeson), the little group faces a trek across a blistering desert that no one has (supposedly) crossed alive. But when they do make it to the other side, they find that there is something even more dangerous -- a tribe of natives ruled by a ruthless chief, who has a very personal connection to Umbopa...

This is actually a pretty faithful adaptation of the original novel, with plenty of good-ish acting and startlingly good special effects. If there's a problem, it's that there's no real character development except for Umbopa, and for an adventure tale, it's actually rather low on appreciable action (although there's one good battle scene).

But it's a magnificent spectacle, and I can only imagine what it would have looked like in color. Sweeping deserts, big African villages, and even a climax that takes place INSIDE a volcano, complete with bubbling lava and collapsing tunnels.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 25, 2008
Format: DVD
Over the years Gaumont British's ambitious 1937 version of King Solomon's Mines has developed a reputation as something of a stinker, which is rather unfair. It's certainly no more faithful to H. Rider Haggard's novel than any of the other screen adaptations, starting the trend for adding a female companion to the quest to attract a wider audience. Unfortunately in this case it's a rather annoying Anna Lee, complete with unconvincing Irish accent, who is particularly awkwardly grafted into the story. Yet in most other departments the film delivers rather well, with Cedric Hardwicke an older than usual but still convincing Allan Quatermain and Paul Robeson easily dominating the supporting cast as the exiled chief Umbopa (yes, he does get to sing), the film giving them a much more distrustful relationship than expected. John Loder offers his usual solid slightly tongue-in-cheek heroism, Roland Young's comic relief is never overdone and the action scenes are surprisingly spectacular, the film even offering a huge pitched battle where subsequent retellings have opted for more economical resolutions to the plot's tribal civil war. The African footage directed by Geoffrey Barkas gives it a broader scale than most British films of its day, the eternally-underrated Robert Stevenson's direction of the main body of the film doing a surprisingly good job of matching it back in Blighty and hiding the fact that none of the key players ever set foot on the location, and the climax in the volcanic mines is still impressive stuff. Dated, certainly, but not even remotely as racially patronising as that implies (largely due to Robeson's influence on the script) and not without its pleasures by any means.

MGM /UA's DVD is a decent enough transfer considering the age of the material, but there are no extras.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tony Harris on November 5, 2010
Format: DVD
This version of K.S.M. is quite good. Sir Cedric Hardwicke is great in anything, you might remember him as Seti in The Ten Commandments or dozen of other films. He plays hero Allen Quatermaine, an adventurer who comes in contact with a young Irish woman and her father whom are seeking riches in Africa. They soon chance upon a map leading to the famed diamond mines. Along for the ride is singer Paul Robeson, who sounds a lot like James Earl Jones. Robeson's character seeks to regain his throne from a tribe that guards the entrance to the mines. There's also a tribal witch, whom chooses victims for sacrifice by swatting them with what looks like, an elephant's tale.Fun and adventure for all indeed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Oates on January 1, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I purchased this film for my mother as she is s huge fan of Paul Robeson. I thoroughly enjoyed the film myself & would highly recommend it to everyone. The picture & sound quality is very good for a film of this age. There are excellent performances throughout the film, but for my money Paul Robeson steals the show. His commanding presence & unique voice are the main things that viewers will remember afterwards. This remains the definitive film version of Rider Haggard's classic tale, and I thoroughly recommend it to everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Evelyn A. Macdonald on February 12, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This B&W original version is still the best one of all. More realistic scenes than the other two made later (Stewart Granger/Richard Chamberlain etc).
More excitement and better plot line.
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Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Roland Young from ("Topper", "Topper Returns"), and in my opinion the star of the movie Anna Lee. Delightful, super cute and fun spirited character. I would recommend this movie to anyone, for a fun, adventure, part comedy, that follows this group in search of unimaginable wealth in diamonds, as well as the quality of the cast.
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