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King Solomon's Mines 1985

3.6 out of 5 stars (38) IMDb 5.1/10

Allan Quartermain (Richard Chamberlain) is hired by a girl (Sharon Stone) to find her kidnapped father in the African jungle. They have many Indiana Jones-style adventures before they free her father and escape being boiled alive. Two earlier versions of the film were made in 1937 and 1950.

Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone
1 hour, 40 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Action & Adventure
Director J. Lee Thompson
Starring Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone
Supporting actors Herbert Lom, John Rhys-Davies, Ken Gampu, June Buthelezi, Sam Williams, Shaike Ophir, Mick Lesley, Vincent Van der Byl, Bob Greer, Oliver Tengende, Neville Thomas, Bishop McThuzen, Isiah Murert, Rocky Green, Calvin Johns, Isaac Mabhikwa, Innocent Choga, Brian Kagura
Studio Paramount
BBFC rating Parental Guidance
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 April 2011
Format: DVD
Jesse Huston (Sharon Stone) is on a mission to find her lost father, she enlists the help of legendary explorer Allan Quatermain (Richard Chamberlain) and both of them set off on their perilous journey.

Bland, routine and deserving of its reputation as an illegitimate sprog cash in of Indiana Jones. Director J Lee Thompson and his writers adapt H. Rider Haggard's classic novel and effectively hope that writing set piece after set piece will make for an exhilarating adventure movie. It doesn't. Bad script, bad acting, poor special effects, roller-coaster pacing, cringe-worthy dialogue and the sets look to have been knocked up overnight. It's not as if Chamberlain & Stone can't act, because they can, it's just that they are reduced to cartoon fodder and both look very uncomfortable in doing so. John Rhys-Davies adds some fun as Dogati but poor Herbert Lom phones it in as an ultimate caricature German villain. There's some interest in the pre-fame Stone's attire for the red blooded male, watch as her shorts grow steadily shorter during the film. And for the girls who like beards, well Richie Chamberlain sports a candidate for the world's tidiest beard throughout the adventure mockery; tho not quite as tidy as the frothy one worn by a big old fake spider.

Don't believe those who say it's in the "so bad it's good" category, it's just terrible and you are strongly advised to seek out either the 1937 or 1950 version instead. 2/10
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines is one of those stories where it often feels that only the title and the odd character name have been filmed. If there were a prize for the least faithful version, Cannon's 1985 romp would win hands down. Richard Chamberlain's Great White Hunter Allan Quatermain may be a reluctant guide on a quest for the fabled mines, but this time his only companion is Sharon Stone, eager to save her archaeologist father from Herbert Lom's dastardly and cartoonish Wagner-loving German officer (the plot has been updated to pre-WW1 Africa). No prizes for guessing that this is inspired more by Indiana Jones than H. Rider Haggard (it even co-stars John Rhys-Davies as another Arab, this time on the bad guys' side), with the stunts increasingly outrageous and the tone firmly tongue in cheek.

Shot almost back-to-back with the dire Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold and originally brandishing the how-are-they-ever-going-to-fit-that-on-the-marquees title Allan Quatermain and King Solomon's Mines and the Lost Caves of Death, it's a film almost as overloaded as it's rejected title: for the first half or so it's surprisingly entertaining, but eventually the relentless energy starts to wear you down as you realise that the film's used up most of its best stunts and jokes and is running out of clichés to rehash and lampoon. Certainly there's nothing in the second half to match a comic marketplace chase or a very silly train rescue that sees Quatermain work his way through variations of Indy's truck chase before skiing along the rails as he holds on by his bullwhip... In many ways, DVD is an almost ideal way to see it: a little too much to sit through in one go, a self-created intermission certainly helps.
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Watched the 1985 Richard Chamberlain version of King Solomon's Mines last night, for the first time in many years.

Interestingly it's got John Rhys Davies in it, who got his job in Indiana Jones because of his role in Shogun with Richard Chamberlain, who's the principle Indiana Jones type character in King Solomon's Mines.

Weirdly whilst watching it it also becomes apparent that whilst King Solomon's Mines was quite intentionally a homage/pastiche of the Indiana Jones movies (Raiders of the Lost Ark & Temple of Doom preceded its 1985 release), there are a very noticeable number of scenes in King Solomon's Mines that appear to have been fairly directly lifted for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
(train top fights, looking for a father who knows the location of an ancient mythical treasure, two villains where one is seeking treasure for money and power & the other is finding it for Germany etc etc... the list is remarkably long)

King Solomon's Mines is not devoid of merit; despite some very hit & miss dialogue Richard Chamberlain still has considerable charm and in parts the almost pantomime-like approach does work fairly well. John Rhys Davies is satisfyingly horrible, Jerry Goldsmith's romping adventurous score drives the action scenes along very well, the effects are hilariously silly in places and it's really good to see the vastness of Zimbabwe on the screen almost as a star itself.
Some of the stunts are very impressive too, with less blue-screening than you might imagine.

However there are some really really big problems with this movie

1) I really didn't remember it being that, well... racist to be honest.
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Format: DVD
The book from which this film gets its title from is probably one of the best adventures ever written. The book gets a pasting from modern critics for its dated Victorian attitudes - BUT it is still a teriffic adventure story, and certainly doesn't have the condescending or patronising attitudes to black people that this film does. In fact a lot of its heroes were black, and even its black villains were given dignity and intelligence.
I think because I rate the book so highly I dislike this film so much, because it bears no resemblance to Rider Haggard's masterpiece. Why do film makers have to monkey around with a good story? A film that remained true to 'King Solomon's Mines' would be worth seeing, but this isn't. It's shoddily made and the acting isn't very good. The hero, Allan Quartermain, is (in the book) a middle-aged, if not elderly, Anglo-African, small of stature, but tough as teak, and there's no love interest. Here you get Richard Chamberlain and some dolly bird, pusued by the Kaiser's Prussian thugs, and instead of the dignified and noble chief, Umbopa/Ignosi, you have a bloke looking like a cigarette seller in Banjul, complete with ragged shorts and a dirty vest who looks as much like a Zulu warrior as Ian Beale from 'Eastenders' looks like James Bond!
Of the other films based on the book, I've only seen the 1950s Stewart Grainger one. Again it's not like the book, but its a better film than this. At least Grainger's got a bit of oomph to him, although apparently animal rights were totally suspended in the making of the '50s film.
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