Director: J. Lee Thompson
Cast: Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, Herbert Lom, John Rhys-Davies
This film is my ultimate vultures pleasure. Back in 89 when Last Crusade was due to be released I was beside myself with glee. I was in a video library looking through their exrental titles for Temple of Doom to add to my copy of Raiders recorded off TV some years before. I was unable to find it however I found this instead.
Starring that fella from The Three Musketeers and some foxy chick, King Solomons Mines looked the biz so I took it to the lad who was manning the store. He said I could have it if I wanted to buy the sequel. I was intrigued, two Indiana Jones clones for a few quid... so I snapped them up. Home for a Quatermain double bill.
The instant the Jerry Goldsmith music started to play I was hooked. I will fully agree that the silliness of the movie does distract from the over all feel of the film however from the opening remark "Here we are in beautiful, downtown Tongola" I recognised that this was not a film to be taken seriously at all, not that anyone would take an Indiana Jones seriously however Temple of Doom was much darker and I think the producers decided to make this a light as possible of maximum family appear.
King Solomons Mines is about as far from the perfect movie as you could get however it is a huge amount of fun. Chamberlain and Stone are the amin reason for this. Thus Davis and Lon are funny villains who play very well to the campy overtones. However, the ultimate plus point is Goldsmith, with a score that is as memorable is the Raiders March and having it blasted everytime Quatermain acts heroically fills the movie with heart and joy.
Outcome: Marvellous trash
Director: Gary Nelson
Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, James Earl Jones, Henry Silva
As bit a fan as I might be of the silly original I think the comments about the series are mainly directed at this second instalment. Even though it was filmed back to back with the first movie a lot of the fun has been lost and things start looking quite hokey and cheap.
Chamberlain and Stone are back and, to be completely honest, this is the biggest highlight of the film. James Earl Jones is completely underused as a new sidekick for Quatermain and Henry Silva looses more credibility as a preposterously evil moron.
Of course the movie isn't as ambitious as it sounds, sometimes when it comes to movies that promise more than they can ever deliver you can forgive somethings. That's never been more evident than Lost City of Gold. I have quite affectionate memories of this as I do love the original as one of the movies from my childhood, but Lost City of Gold should only be watched by the likes of myself who will redeem any merit from this sequel.
It is kind of fun that this movie and it's predecessor were released on the centenary of the original novels on which they were both based. Also there was a scene in which Quatermain rides around in a cable car of some description was his whip, clips can be seen in the trailer however they must have been removed as the similarities to Indiana Jones were just a little too much. Also, at the time I had no idea Elvira played Sorais!
Outcome: Pretty bad :(
The King Solomons Mines legend and more evidently Allan Quatermain's adventures have been the subject of many a film.
Allan Quatermain (1919)
Rider was present for a private screening on All Hallow's Even in 1919 & wrote of it in his diary, "It is not at all bad, but it might be a great deal better." No print is known to survive but stills are preserved in a South African film archive
The first recognised version of the legend on film. Largely most enjoyable however I remember the musical numbers taking me by surprise.
Pretty much the the definitive version. The chemistry of Kerr and Granger make the film as notable as their off screen antics. If you are going to watch a film with Allan Quatermain, it has to be this one.
This is essentially an unofficial sequel to the 1950 version for King Solomon's Mines with George Montgomery playing Harry Quatermain, Allan's son. Funnily the film is set against a World War I backdrop, much like the 1985 version.
Even though this is a cash-in of the Granger/Kerr version, this is still one of my favourites.
I happened upon this in a video store one day and could believe my luck. However, it was truely terrible. I have only watched it once and seem to remember giant crabs and David McCallum being scared of almost everything.
A perfectly good example of just how bad British cinema was in the late 70's.
A second version of King Solomon's Mines appeared around the same time as the Chamberlain version. This time animated. I guess as this is directed at bringing the legend to the kiddies they lack any form of interest outside of the raw story. It does however not take too many liberties with the story from the original book.
According to some, this is a third film in the series above. I haven't seen it and cannot comment on it. Until I do, it will remain here. The film apparently follows Chris Quatermain, Allan's great grandson. Therefore Harry's grandson :)
Release around 2001 the film probably hoped to cash in on The Mummy Returns. If anyone knows where to find a copy, let me know!
Quatermain is back big time! Sean Connery plays the daring adventurer and the central character in this big budget action film. The film met with largely negative reviews however as I am a Quatermain fan I relished the opportunity to see Connery in role he should have played years before.
Funny thought is that Quatermain is a influence onIndiana Jones and Connery also played Indiana Jones' father.
A welcome TV retelling with Patrick Swayze as Quatermain and the lovely Allison Doody. This one is pretty enjoyable and whilst some will this Swayze is miscast I think he does a pretty good job.
The second Librarian movie takes a modern quest into the heart of darkest Africa for the lightest of adventures. The Librarian franchise, that will likely feature here in the future, is a fun and enjoyable adventure series and this move is maybe the most fun of the series. No Quatermain though.
The latest Quatermain outing is this, Asylum produced nonsense. Another attempt to cash-in on Indiana Jones with Quatermain's name. This time a no budget, no talent atrocity. I fear the name of Quatermain will forever be related to inferior Indiana Jones rubbish.
Platform - Commodore 64
A piece of interactive fiction for the Commodore, this text adventure was a split screen graphic and text affair. Reports at that it was about as routine as they come. The game took you through the perils of the African jungle, past hostile natives, across raging rivers and into themysterious snow-capped Tallawasi Mountains.
In 2010, it was announced that Sam Worthington would portray the character in an upcoming sci-fi adaptation of King Solomon's Mines.
Little has been heard since but fingers crossed.
Allan Quatermain and the King Solomon's Mines legend has been exploited many times over the years with varying results. Whilst the Chamberlain films might be revered by many they are cut above many and probably the most fun.
We have not heard the last of Quatermain's adventures and H. Rider Haggard has written a wealth of exploits featuring the great white hunter.