Well, to my great surprise, I did not particularly like King Solomon’s Mines. This seemed like a perfect fit with my love of adventure films, action, on-location filming, and Stewart Granger. I would have thought anybody could safely recommend this movie. But even factoring out the animal element (and I really should know better than to watch any movie heavily involving animals that was made before animal safety regulations were introduced, as I will just get upset) I still didn’t like this movie.
Why? Because I hated the plot, or lack thereof. This was a quest story, never one of my favorite types of plots. I much prefer journeys (like Lord of the Rings), which is similar, but where characters return changed from their adventures at the end. Quests are just that... characters travel in search of something and have random adventures along the way. And I have to admit, this bores me greatly. For me, King Solomon’s Mines was a series of incidents that tied together only because they happened to the same people.
For example, when we finally reach this village in the middle of the unknown territory, we randomly encounter a criminal, who we’ve never heard of before in the movie until now. We have an exciting bit of fight/escape/chase... and then neither the criminal nor the villagers chasing our heroes with the intent of murdering them are ever mentioned or encountered again. It’s just a completely random incident. We do find out that our MacGuffin, Deborah Kerr’s husband, passed by, but there are a hundred ways to find out that information. That's just one example out of many. This movie is nothing but a string of mini-adventures, none particularly related to anything else... and while many viewers may not only not mind that, but love that type of story, it personally drives me crazy. When we finally get to the fabled mines... woo, hey, guess what? They’re real! But does anybody care? Does anybody pocket some jewels? We came all this way, and nothing happens. We also find our MacGuffin unsurprisingly dead. Nothing happens about that either. Nobody is changed or different at the end of this movie, other than they’re a lot more starving and tired than when they started out.
So, the scenery was impressive, Stewart Granger was handsome and pretty darned awesome, Deborah Kerr whined a lot (not without cause), her brother was my favorite character, the animals scenes traumatized me -- particularly the awful, horrible opening, the plot bored me silly, and there wasn’t even any payoff at the end in the mines that we went all that way to find...
What should have been a film right up my alley, just... wasn’t.