King Solomon's Mines (1985)

PG-13 | 100 mins | Adventure, Comedy | 22 November 1985

Director:

J. Lee Thompson

Cinematographer:

Alex Phillips

Editor:

John Shirley

Production Designer:

Luciano Spadoni

Production Company:

Cannon Films
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HISTORY

       King Solomon’s Mines is based on the 1885 novel of the same name, written by H. Rider Haggard. Since the publication of the novel, there have been several film adaptations including versions with the same title in 1937 (see entry), and 1950 (see entry), a sequel to the 1950 version titled Watusi, (1959, see entry), and a 1919 film titled Allan Quatermain (see entry). Additionally, several low-budget, direct-to-DVD, and television adaptations have been made.
       According to a 20 Dec 1984 DV article, Cannon Pictures' King Solomon's Mines was in development for three years, with producer Menahem Golan at one point considering to direct. However, Richard Chamberlain was hired instead, and production was scheduled to allow the back-to-back filming of King Solomon's Mines and its sequel, Allan Quatermain and the City of Lost Gold (1987, see entry), previously titled, Quatermain.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files reported principal photography began in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 6 Jan 1985, and ended on 29 May 1985. Earlier reported start dates from various sources included Oct 1984, Nov 1984, 3 Jan 1985, and 4 Jan 1985.
       According to the 20 Feb 1985 Var, the $12.5 million picture was scheduled to wrap in Mar 1985. However, heavy rains caused lengthy delays. Director J. Lee Thompson reportedly called on the services of a local witch doctor to “calm the spirits of the dead,” and end the bad weather. Lee Thompson learned from several of the 4,000 local background actors that the sets were built atop a warrior burial ground, and ... More Less

       King Solomon’s Mines is based on the 1885 novel of the same name, written by H. Rider Haggard. Since the publication of the novel, there have been several film adaptations including versions with the same title in 1937 (see entry), and 1950 (see entry), a sequel to the 1950 version titled Watusi, (1959, see entry), and a 1919 film titled Allan Quatermain (see entry). Additionally, several low-budget, direct-to-DVD, and television adaptations have been made.
       According to a 20 Dec 1984 DV article, Cannon Pictures' King Solomon's Mines was in development for three years, with producer Menahem Golan at one point considering to direct. However, Richard Chamberlain was hired instead, and production was scheduled to allow the back-to-back filming of King Solomon's Mines and its sequel, Allan Quatermain and the City of Lost Gold (1987, see entry), previously titled, Quatermain.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files reported principal photography began in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 6 Jan 1985, and ended on 29 May 1985. Earlier reported start dates from various sources included Oct 1984, Nov 1984, 3 Jan 1985, and 4 Jan 1985.
       According to the 20 Feb 1985 Var, the $12.5 million picture was scheduled to wrap in Mar 1985. However, heavy rains caused lengthy delays. Director J. Lee Thompson reportedly called on the services of a local witch doctor to “calm the spirits of the dead,” and end the bad weather. Lee Thompson learned from several of the 4,000 local background actors that the sets were built atop a warrior burial ground, and filmmakers had failed to ask permission to film there, resulting in bad luck. The 22 Feb 1985 DV reported the rainy season followed a three-year drought in Zimbabwe, and announced a sequel to the film would potentially begin production two weeks after King Solomon’s Mines completed filming.
       According to the 16 Aug 1985 HR, Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone reprised their roles for the sequel, which began principal photography 10 Jun 1985. Referring to the film by the working title, Alan Quatermain and the City of Gold, the 31 Jul 1985 Var reported filming was scheduled to be completed by the end of Sep 1985.
       A story in the 12 Nov 1985 HR announced that King Solomon’s Mines would open nationwide 22 Nov 1985 in 1,100 theaters. The picture earned $10 million after ten days in 1,122 theaters, according to the Feb 1986 Box.
       The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called for a boycott of the film citing its disrespectful portrayal of African people, according to the 9 Dec 1985 DV. Actor Richard Chamberlain was reportedly surprised by the protest, as he saw the picture as a spoof, as reported by the 26 Dec 1985 DV. Filmmakers also defended the picture as a comedy in the 29 Apr 1985 NYT.
      End credits include the following acknowledgements: “The producers would like to thank the government and people of Zimbabwe: Ministry of Information, Zimbabwe Republic Police, National Railways of Zimbabwe, National Parks & Wildlife of Zimbabwe, National Museums & Monuments, Ministry of Defence, the Airforce of Zimbabwe,” and “Made by Cannon Productions N.V. and filmed on location in Zimbabwe.”
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Feb 1986.
---
Daily Variety
30 Nov 1984.
---
Daily Variety
20 Dec 1984
p. 1, 26.
Daily Variety
22 Feb 1985.
---
Daily Variety
9 Dec 1985.
---
Daily Variety
26 Dec 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Nov 1985.
---
Hollywood Reporter
25 Nov 1985
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
25 Nov 1985
p. 7.
New York Times
29 Apr 1985.
---
New York Times
23 Nov 1985
p. 14.
Variety
20 Feb 1985.
---
Variety
31 Jul 1985.
---
Variety
27 Nov 1985
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
The Cannon Group, Inc. Presents
a Golan-Globus Production
of a J. Lee Thompson Film
A Cannon Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
3d asst dir
2d unit dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stills photog
Focus puller
Cam asst
Cam asst
Best boy
Chief grip
Aerial photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Sketch artist
Draughtsman
FILM EDITORS
2d asst ed
Ed's asst
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dresser
Prop master
Prop master
Const mgr
Const mgr
Const mgr
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward mistress
Asst ward
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Dubbing ed
Dubbing ed
Dubbing ed
Dubbing asst
Dubbing asst
Dubbing asst
Dubbing mixer
Dubbing mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Spec eff tech
Opt eff
Titles & opticals by
MAKEUP
Senior makeup artist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Prod coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Crowd casting
Unit loc mgr
Loc mgr
Aerial coord
Armourer
Animal coord
Animal asst
Animal asst
Prod accountant
Prod accountant
Transport capt
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Asst coord
Senior stuntman
Stuntwoman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Stuntman
Aerial stunt coord
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard (London, 1885).
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 November 1985
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 22 November 1985
Production Date:
6 January--29 May 1985 in Harare, Zimbabwe
Copyright Claimant:
Limelight Associates Limited Partnership
Copyright Date:
26 February 1985
Copyright Number:
PA279138
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Cameras & anamorphic lenses by Joe Dunton Cameras
Duration(in mins):
100
MPAA Rating:
PG-13
Countries:
South Africa, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
27899
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Professor Jediah Huston travels to Africa with a small statue to meet with antiques dealer, Kassam, at his shop, The House of Isis. A Turkish man named Dogati forces the Professor at knifepoint to translate the writing on the artifact, believing it to be a map leading to King Solomon’s mines. Dogati murders the Professor’s assistant, Rupert. Elsewhere, Jessie Huston and her hired local guide, Allan Quatermain, traipse through the African jungle, making their way to the German-occupied Turkish city of Tongola in search of Jessie’s father, the Professor. Quatermain notices they are being followed by a young man. Inside Tongola, Dogati argues with a German Colonel named Bockner. Dogati’s aid reports that Jessie and Quatermain have arrived in the city. Dogati plans to kill Quatermain. He sends his men to kidnap Jessie, but she escapes, and finds Kassam at The House of Isis, to ask about her father’s whereabouts. Kassam attempts to kidnap Jessie, but Quatermain comes to her rescue. He points a gun at Kassam, who claims the professor left after discovering the map’s authenticity. Quatermain finds the body of the Professor’s assistant, Rupert, wrapped like a mummy, in Kassam’s shop. The dead man holds a small statue, which Jessie recognizes as the map. Kassam translates the map, and confesses that Colonel Bockner has kidnapped Jessie’s father. Quatermain concludes that Jessie has been targeted as leverage for her father’s cooperation. In an escape attempt, Kassam shoots at them, and Jessie shoots back. Quatermain lights a stick of dynamite, throws it toward Kassam, and demands he put out the dynamite and talk. ... +


Professor Jediah Huston travels to Africa with a small statue to meet with antiques dealer, Kassam, at his shop, The House of Isis. A Turkish man named Dogati forces the Professor at knifepoint to translate the writing on the artifact, believing it to be a map leading to King Solomon’s mines. Dogati murders the Professor’s assistant, Rupert. Elsewhere, Jessie Huston and her hired local guide, Allan Quatermain, traipse through the African jungle, making their way to the German-occupied Turkish city of Tongola in search of Jessie’s father, the Professor. Quatermain notices they are being followed by a young man. Inside Tongola, Dogati argues with a German Colonel named Bockner. Dogati’s aid reports that Jessie and Quatermain have arrived in the city. Dogati plans to kill Quatermain. He sends his men to kidnap Jessie, but she escapes, and finds Kassam at The House of Isis, to ask about her father’s whereabouts. Kassam attempts to kidnap Jessie, but Quatermain comes to her rescue. He points a gun at Kassam, who claims the professor left after discovering the map’s authenticity. Quatermain finds the body of the Professor’s assistant, Rupert, wrapped like a mummy, in Kassam’s shop. The dead man holds a small statue, which Jessie recognizes as the map. Kassam translates the map, and confesses that Colonel Bockner has kidnapped Jessie’s father. Quatermain concludes that Jessie has been targeted as leverage for her father’s cooperation. In an escape attempt, Kassam shoots at them, and Jessie shoots back. Quatermain lights a stick of dynamite, throws it toward Kassam, and demands he put out the dynamite and talk. Kassam races to defuse the explosive, as Quatermain and Jessie flee. However, they are forced back inside the shop by the gun-wielding Dogati and Bockner. The dynamite explodes, killing Kassam, but Quatermain and Jessie escape unharmed. Quatermain leaves Jessie in the care of his servant, Umbopo, and returns to spy on Dogati and Bockner. He sees the Professor in their custody, and overhears their plan to board a train and search for the mines. Quatermain is captured by an officer, but escapes with Jessie and Umbopo while Dogati and Bockner pursue. Driving a truck out of town, Quatermain assures Jessie that they will follow her father on the train. As Jessie and Quatermain get acquainted, she tells him that she is an archeology student. Later, they jump onto a moving train, and find her father in the caboose. Jessie is captured, while Quatermain fights an attacker, then rescues Jessie and her father by disconnecting the caboose from the rest of the train. The professor tells Quatermain that he has spent his whole life searching for King Solomon’s mines, and pleads for Quatermain’s help. Although he does not believe the mines exist, Quatermain agrees to do it for Jessie, with whom he has become infatuated. Sometime later, Jessie and Quatermain steal an airplane from Bockner’s German outpost. The plane is shot at, and the damage forces them to land and continue their journey on foot. In the jungle, Jessie and Quatermain encounter a tribe of cannibals, and are forced into a large pot of water, in preparation to be eaten. As they are about to be boiled alive, they escape by rocking the pot over, and roll inside it down a hill to safety. However, they face yet another threat when they are surrounded by lions. Bockner and Dogati attack the cannibal village, and the gunfire scares off the lions. Jessie and Quatermain continue through the jungle, and meet a friendly tribe who swing upside down from vines. As they present Jessie with gifts, including a diamond crown from King Solomon’s mines, Quatermain remembers the myth of an upside down tribe who guards the entrance to the mines. Meanwhile, Bockner and Dogati pursue, and shoot at Jessie and Quatermain in the treetops. The tribesmen swing the couple to safety, leading them toward the mines. However, the explorers are immediately captured by a another hostile tribe, led by a priestess. They steal Jessie’s crown, and hang Quatermain from a rope above a pool of crocodiles, as Jessie pleads for his life. Quatermain is rescued by his servant, Umbopo, who lays claim to the tribe as its rightful ruler, and a fight ensues. Bockner’s soldiers arrive and blast the village with bombs and gunfire. Jessie is taken to a cave by the hostile priestess, while Quatermain and Umbopo pursue. Meanwhile, Bockner shoots Dogati, intending to claim the treasure for himself. Umbopo tells Quatermain that Jessie was taken to a hidden passageway into the mines. They find their way in as Jessie is being lowered into hot lava. The three escape, and Umbopo guides them safely through the mine’s hidden traps while Bockner follows close behind. Jessie and Quatermain enter the room of treasures and begin filling their pockets with jewels. The evil priestess traps them inside, and the room begins to fill with water. As they are about to drown, Jessie professes her love for Quatermain. An explosion blows a hole in the wall, and the water drains away. Elsewhere, Dogati confronts Bockner in the treasure room, revealing bulletproof protection over his chest. Dogati forces Bockner to swallow several gemstones, vowing to cut his dead body open later to retrieve them for himself. Another explosion knocks Dogati down, and Bockner flees. As the mines begin to crumble, Jessie, Quatermain, and Umbopo make their escape across stones in an underground river. However, they are confronted by Bockner, who forces them to relinquish their diamonds at gunpoint. Quatermain lays the diamonds on a stone, and as Bockner reaches for them, he is attacked and killed by a Mokèlé-mbèmbé creature. Umbopo warns them to leave the diamonds behind, and they make their escape, but Quatermain becomes separated following an explosion. Dogati attacks Quatermain and the men fight, until Dogati falls to his death. Quatermain escapes as the mines crumble behind him. Umbopo stays behind to rule his tribesmen, and bids farewell to Jessie and Quatermain. After they depart, the couple reveal that they each have a large diamond, and they kiss passionately. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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