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Solomon & Sheba
on June 6, 2009
Solomon and Sheba, a 1959 offering from United Artists, gave the movie audiences of the world a glimpse into the Golden Age of Israel. King David entrusted the united kingdom of Israel to his young son Solomon.
Of course, this did not sit well with Solomon's half brother, Adonijah who was the eldest. The contrast between the two sons was striking-Solomon was a poet and a peaceful soul; Adonijah was a warrior ever looking to fulfill his bloodlust. He was only happy when his sword dripped with blood.
The film shows the building of Solomon's Temple, a marvel of industry for the time. Meanwhile, Adonijah and Joab, David's nephew, secretly plotted to seize the throne.
Down the road in Egypt, the Pharaoh plotted with the Queen of Sheba to overthrow Solomon. He feared the united kingdom of Israel and its ever increasing military presence as well as the lost of trade. In the final analysis, war usually results from economic factors.
Everyone wanted to travel to Jerusalem to see the magnificent city of Jerusalem with its Temple and Solomon's palace. Also, they yearned to hear the words of wisdom from Solomon that had given him global renown.
When the Queen of Sheba arrives in Jerusalem, she brings her vast caravan with expensive gifts for the King as well as her gods which she hoped would lead to his downfall. The Queen was an intoxicating beauty which a god would be unwilling to resist.
Yul Brynner and Gina Lollobrigida give two stellar performances. The Spanish cinematography is beautifully filmed.
The wrath of Jehovah on the Temple as the result of Solomon's sin is awe-inspiring. The climax battle between Solomon and Adonijah leading the Egyptian army is spectacular. The stoning of the Queen of Sheba at the ruins of the Temple is poignant.
One has to keep in mind that these biblical film epics are loosely based on the Bible and other sacred texts. Regardless of this technicality, it is a great film if this is a genre that you enjoy.
The dialogue has been criticized for being too wordy, too poetic. Keep in mind this was 1959, not 2009. Actors and viewers were expected to be readers of the written word.