Everything about this film is full of fun adventure. Allan Quatermain (Stewart Granger) is an experiences hunter and safari guide in the heart of Africa. He is sought out by Mrs. Elizabeth Curtis (Deborah Kerr), who wants to go on safari to search for her lost husband who was out searching for the fabled King Solomon’s Mines. Allan agrees only after Elizabeth’s agreement to pay him handsomely, even if they turn back quickly. Guessing by Elizabeth’s dress and demeanor, Allan doesn’t expect the journey to last long before she wants to turn back. Lead by a mysterious map, Allan, Elizabeth, her brother John (Richard Carlson) and a few helpful natives set out on adventure, filled with close calls with the wild animals, encounters with the natives and romance.
While Allan is supposed to be the rugged safari man just doing his job for the money, Elizabeth is the stubborn English girl who doesn’t know anything about the wilds of Africa she’s determined to face. Classic combination full of fun tension. Along the way, she starts to realize that this safari is no picnic in the park. After a few hissy-fits thinking that Allan has lead them through difficult terrain on purpose, she comes to her senses and cuts her long hair down to size. A physical transformation to show her commitment if you will. After her hair is somehow styled to beautiful perfection, Allan and Elizabeth start sharing more longing looks that just might land them in a tree. And you know what goes on in trees.
If you have animal loving kids, they will be squealing with delight throughout the entire film. Half the fun of King Solomon’s Mines are the animal encounters along the way. There are dangerous rivers full of crocodiles and hippos, trees full of monkeys, creepy crawlies along the ground to make Elizabeth scream and a heart pounding zebra stampede just to name a few great moments.
In the realm of Best Picture nominations, King Solomon’s Mines seems like a laughable member. The grass stained boy among men swirling brandy. However, in the realm of 1950’s jungle-adventure, this is as great as it gets. The Oscar winning cinematography shows off the beautiful African landscapes and the editing makes those wild animal moments feel heart pounding and dangerous. There are even a few moments that seem like inspiration for some scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Sure the acting is a little cheesy and we predicted that love story from the beginning, but you’re going to have fun throughout the entire film.
“The only way out of this is… suffocation!”