DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Awards & Recommendations at Amazon.com.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Compton Bennett, Andrew Marton
Deborah Kerr, Stewart Granger, Richard Carlson
Writing Credits:
Helen Deutsch

Adventurer Allan Quartermain leads an expedition into uncharted African territory in an attempt to locate an explorer who went missing during his search for the fabled diamond mines of King Solomon.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 5/30/2023

Jungle Safari Short
• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


King Solomon's Mines [Blu-Ray] (1950)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 12, 2023)

In 1885, English author H. Rider Haggard brought the character of Allan Quatermain to life via his novel King Solomon’s Mines. This tale first leapt to the movie screen in 1919, but a 1950 version offers the most famous adaptation of Haggard’s work.

Set in British East Africa circa 1897, Henry Curtis went missing as he searched for the potentially mythical mines of King Solomon. Henry’s wife Elizabeth (Deborah Kerr) and her brother John Goode (Richard Carlson) hire big game hunter Allan Quatermain (Stewart Granger) to locate him.

Allan views this as a potentially suicidal quest, but disillusioned with life, he hopes that the large fee he obtains can support his young son back home in England. This sends Allan, Elizabeth and others on an adventure packed with peril.

Folks of my generation remember a 1985 adaptation of Mines with Richard Chamberlain as Allan. Audiences viewed it as the Indiana Jones rip-off it was, an ironic fate given the manner in which Quatermain acted as an obvious influence on that franchise.

I never saw the 1985 Mines. Indeed, this 1950 version turned into my first formal experience with the character.

And probably my last, as little about the 1950 Mines made me feel interested to spend more time in the world of Allan Quatermain. A surprisingly dull stab at an adventure, the movie shows its age.

In other words, if anyone expects the glorious thrills of Indiana Jones – or even the 1999 Mummy - one will go home disappointed. Honestly, Mines barely even attempts actual “thrills”, at least in terms of action.

Mines appears content to “dazzle” the viewers with visions of exotic Africa. We find seemingly endless scenes in which we view various animals as well as native tribes.

These components should act as complements to the plot and action, but instead they turn into the main course. Allan, Elizabeth and the rest mostly meander their way through Africa with little to do other than shoot randomly at animals and act scared of natives.

Much of the time, Mines feels more like a travelogue than a narrative tale. It occasionally reminds us of the main mission, but the different elements exist to make Africa look foreboding more than they tell a story.

There simply isn’t much plot to go around, and Mines does little to develop its characters. The main roles come with built-in complexity but the movie largely ignores these facets and leaves the parts as flat and forgettable.

Inevitably, Mines pushes Allan and Elizabeth toward romance. Though this concept fits the genre, it seems bizarre given that Elizabeth seeks her missing husband.

Even if poor Henry turns up dead – no spoilers here! – it feels really odd that Elizabeth appears so open to getting romantic with Allan. Doesn’t she need time to grieve?

Really, it would’ve seemed more logical for Mines to feature Henry as Elizabeth’s father or brother. Then it could develop all the sparks between Elizabeth and Allan it wanted without the Ick Factor.

Not that this would save the movie, as it would remain a surprisingly lifeless “adventure”. Allan just doesn’t come across as much of a hero, partly because the film really does give him so little to do in the overall scheme of things.

This reaches its weird zenith during the climax, as the movie ends with a one-on-one fight between African leaders. Allan just stands there and watches, a scene that symbolizes the entire inert affair.

I do appreciate that Quatermain managed to inspire Indiana Jones, as that character’s films have brought me much joy. However, Mines becomes a tedious dud.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

King Solomon’s Mines appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a nice presentation, especially given the film’s age.

In terms of sharpness, the movie usually demonstrated appealing delineation. A few shots seemed somewhat soft, but those issues occurred infrequently and stemmed from location safari footage, so the majority of the flick looked concise and accurate.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and no edge enhancement became apparent. Grain remained appropriate, and no specks, marks or other defects showed up at any time in this fresh presentation.

Colors were strong. A Technicolor production that embraced a variety of tones, the hues tended to be vivid and full.

Blacks seemed deep and dense without too much heaviness. Shadow detail worked similarly well, as dimly-lit shots were appropriately clear and thick.

A few “day for night” shots inevitably felt a bit murky, but that stemmed from the source. I found little about which to complain here and thought the Blu-ray brought the movie to life in a positive manner.

The DTS-HD MA monaural audio of Mines appeared fine for its era, and speech was more than adequate. The lines showed age-related thinness, but they were always perfectly intelligible and without edginess.

Effects resembled the dialogue. Those elements lacked much depth but they were without notable problems.

Music was acceptable for its age, as the score tended to be a bit tinny. There wasn’t much range to the music, but again, that stemmed from the limitations of the very old source. This became a perfectly acceptable mix for its vintage.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get a vintage featurette called Jungle Safari. It runs nine minutes, 48 seconds and offers behind the scenes footage from the shoot.

A promo piece, we don’t really learn a lot of substance about the production. Still, it provides a decent view of some challenges the filmmakers encountered.

An oddly inert adventure, King Solomon’s Mines lacks much excitement. It hopes to dazzle viewers with the sights of exotic Africa but it fails to bring real action or anything compelling. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals, acceptable audio and minor bonus materials. Though I didn’t expect a tremendously dynamic tale, I thought Mines would muster more thrills than it does.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 3
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main