The action in this routine adventure film would be modeled on the enormously successful Indiana Jones but it is too much, too fast, too deja vu. It all starts when Jessie Huston (Sharon Stone, before stardom) talks adventurer Allen Quatermain (Richard Chamberlain) into helping her find her father, an archaeologist.
He has been kidnapped in Africa by a Turk (John Rhys-Davies) and a German colonel (Herbert Lom) who are determined to extract the secret location of King Solomon’s mines from the stubborn man. As Jessie and Quatermain head off into the unknown, there are crocodiles, lions, and other human beasts to conquer before the father or the mines hove into view. A sequel was soon to follow.
King Solomon’s Mines is a 1985 action adventure film, the fourth of five film adaptations of the 1885 novel of the same name by Henry Rider Haggard. It stars Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, Herbert Lom and John Rhys-Davies. It was adapted by Gene Quintano and James R. Silke and directed by J. Lee Thompson.
This version of the story was a light, comedic take, deliberately referring to, and parodying Indiana Jones (in which franchise actor Rhys-Davies appeared in two installments). It was filmed outside Harare in Zimbabwe. It was followed by a sequel (filmed back-to-back) Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1987) and by a yet un-produced sequel, Allan Quatermain and the Jewel of the East.
About the Story
Jesse Huston (Sharon Stone) hires Allan Quatermain to find her father, believed lost on an expedition to find the fabled King Solomon’s Mines. Together with his companion, the mysterious Umbopo, they penetrate unknown country, following a map believed to be genuine. It transpires that Professor Huston has been captured by a German military expedition on the same quest, led by Bockner (Herbert Lom), a single-minded knackwurst-munching, bald-headed Colonel and a ruthless Turkish slave-trader and adventurer, Dogati (John Rhys-Davies). Huston is being forced to interpret another map, also believed to be genuine.
The two rival expeditions shadow each other, clashing on several occasions, and finally enter the tribal lands of the Kukuana who capture them. The tribe is under the control of the evil priestess, Gagoola, who has Quatermain hung upside down over a pond full of crocodiles. Just when all seems lost, Umbopo arrives and after defeating Gagoola’s warriors in combat, reveals his identity as an exiled tribal chief and the rightful ruler of the Kukuanas.
As the tribesmen submit to him, Gagoola captures Jesse and flees into caves in the depths of the Breasts of Sheba, the twin mountain peaks where the mines are located. They are pursued by Bockner and Dogati, who attack the village in full force. They follow Quatermain and Umbopo to the entrance to the mines, but are hampered by a moat of quicksand.
Bockner orders his men forward into the moat, but they have trouble crossing it. Dogati then kills all of Bockner’s soldiers, as well as most of his own men, and uses their bodies as stepping stones to cross the moat safely. As they approach the entrance, Bockner shoots Dogati and takes command of what little remains of the party.
King Solomon’s Mines (1985)
Directed by: J. Lee Thompson
Starring: Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, Herbert Lom, John Rhys-Davies, Ken Gampu, June Buthelezi, Shaike Ophir, Fidelis Cheza
Screenplay by: Gene Quintano
Production Design by: Luciano Spadoni
Cinematography by: Álex Phillips Jr.
Film Editing by: John Shirley
Costume Design by: Tony Pueo
Set Decoration by: Nello Giorgetti
Art Direction by: Leonardo Coen Cagli
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Distributed by: The Cannon Group, Paramount Pictures
Release Date: November 22, 1985