Sunday, September 25, 2016

1937 - KING SOLOMON'S MINES, version 1 with bonus musical numbers

The old H. Rider Haggard novel about adventurers in Africa searching for the lost diamond mines of King Solomon was filmed for the first time.  The cast is a rather interesting one.  Cedric Hardwicke is Alan Quartermain.   Anna Lee is the female lead.  Roland Young is Commander Good and Paul Robeson is the mysterious African native they pick up in darkest Africa.

The film is a little creaky but actually pretty entertaining.  You have lost diamond mines, native uprisings, 2nd unit African scenery and a volcano ready to blow.  A lot of stuff crammed into an 80 minute film.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the film is the actor Paul Robeson.  An African/American actor and singer, his left leaning political views in a very conservative and racist American during the 40's, 50's and 60's caused him to be persecuted by the United States Government.  Robeson was a noted singer with a strong bass voice.  He sings very improbably several times throughout the film.  At times it's like watching a strange hybrid of adventure film and musical film.

The film was directed by future Walt Disney studio director Robert Stevenson (Mary Poppins, That Darn Cat etc.).

80 minutes

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