Saturday, July 9, 2011


Stars:Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr
Year: 1950
The best movie adoption of H.Rider Haggard's classic adventure story!There have been a few movie adoptions of the novel but non matches the class,setting,adventure and the fantastic atmosphere of this movie.It's good old fashioned Hollywood adventure with not a single dull moment in the entire movie.
The movie does take liberties from the novel but this has been the case with all the movie adoptions of the book.A female lead is present in all the versions whereas the novel had all male characters. I guess this was done to attract male audiences to theaters.The movie had two directors,Compton Bennett and Andrew Marton.This was Bennett's most popular movie.Marton was one of the directors of the war epic The Longest Day.He also served as second unit director on the legendary movie Ben Hur(1959).
The entire movie was shot on location in Africa and was produced by MGM.An obscure sequel,Watusi was made by the same studio in 1959.
Allan Quatermain(Granger),an experienced guide and hunter reluctantly agrees to help Elizabeth Curtis(Kerr) search for her husband who has disappeared in Africa.John Goode(Richard Carlson),Liz's brother also comes along.Her husband had come to Africa in search of the famed King Solomon's Mines.She has a mysterious map ehich she shows to Alllan but he is apprehensive about all the story.But he agrees to become their guide.Accompanying them is a native,Umbopa.
During their journey they face many obstacles and hardships.Both Allan and Liz are head strong and some what stubborn and that is why there is a lot of friction between them.As expected from a Hollywood movie of that era,both start to fall in love with each other during the journey.
The group comes across Van Brun(Hugo Haas) a white hunter living as a king amongst a native African tribe.He tells the party that he has seen Curtis.But Allan recognizes him as a fugitive from the law.Brun realizes that and tries to take the party hostage but Allan gets the better of him and uses him as a shield to get out of the village.While escaping,Allan kills Brun and the party flees from the angry villagers.
They finally reach the region where the mines are suppose to be.They ar surprised to find out that their companion Umbopa is the rightful king of the region who has come with them to reclaim his throne.He fights with the best warrior the evil king of the region has.Umbpa wins and reclaims the throne.
The evil kings advisor Gagool tells the party that he has seen Curtis and will take them to him.When they get inside the cave where Curtis supposedly is (he is in cave filled with a trove of priceless jewellry)Gagool closes the mouth of the cave while the group is distracted by the discovery of the treasure.It is then that they realize that Curtis had been killed by the evil king's men.The group abandons the treasure but manages to find a way out through a stream.When they reach near the village they are met with Umbopa.Umbopa makes arrangements for his friends to get back home and this is where the movie ends.
The movie is one of the greatest African adventures of all time.There have been a lot of movies made about Africa but this is probably second best African adventure movie ever made.The Ghost and the Darkness is probably the best that i have seen.The acting by the entire cast is solid and so is the story.The romance angle is a little hard to digest but other than that there is nothing wrong with the entire movie.Its rip roaring entertainment all the way.Highly recommended.
Rating: 7.8/10

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