King Solomon's Mines [1985]

Though modern audiences may find the performances in this prototypical darkest-Africa adventure yarn somewhat creaky, vintage-film fans will relish this rousing adaptation of H. Rider Haggard's novel. Sir Cedric Hardwicke stars as Allan Quartermain, a Great White Hunter who aids a young woman (Anna Lee, who was married to the film's director, Robert Stevenson) in locating her father, who has gone missing in his search for the fabled diamond mines of King Solomon. With the assistance of the regal Umbopa (Paul Robeson), Quartermain and his party locate the mines, but quickly find themselves in the midst of two warring tribes. The use of African locations and indigenous tribesmen help to give the film a gritty authenticity, and the presence of the legendary Robeson (who sings three songs) adds a degree of historical importance to this engaging action-drama. --Paul Gaita

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