Before there was Indiana Jones, there was Allan Quartermain, the stalwart hero of H. Rider Haggard’s classic 1885 novel that has been filmed four times. Stewart Granger plays Quartermain in this 1950 M-G-M adaptation that was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar®, and won the awards for Best Color CInematography and Best Editing. Deborah Kerr plays the plain Englishwoman who hires Quartermain to lead the hunt for her missing husband, even though no safari has ever returned from uninhabited regions their expeditions must cross. Part adventure, part spectacle and filmed amid the awesome splendor and peril of untamed Africa, King Solomon’s Mines is a film to treasure.
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Warner Archive presents King Solomon’s Mines with a striking new 1080p master transfer sourced from a 4K scan of the original nitrate Technicolor negatives which carefully recombined the three strips using proprietary technology. Warner Archive continues to rescue these Technicolor classics on Blu-Ray, and each one appears to be more lovely than the last. With this process you expect for an emphasis to be put on the radiant brilliance of these hues, and that is exactly what you get with dynamic colors within these environments and certain production elements.
Highlights remain firm even under the blazing sun with no trace of blooming occurring. The black levels are very deep with a welcome stability throughout. You will not find much in the way of blemishes, as the company has taken great care to clear up dirt and scratches. We did not spot any jarring digital anomalies such as compression artifacts, banding or any other such issues. The level of detail and clarity is remarkable with a wonderful amount of natural film grain intact. This presentation is one of the best yet from Warner Archive.
Warner Archive has presented this one with a restored DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio presentation that brings this to life admirably. One of the first things you will notice here is the fine score from Jerry Goldsmith which lends so much energy to the narrative. This track always feels robust and comes through unparalleled fidelity. Dialogue radiates out clearly from beginning to end. The track balances vocals with the environmental sounds such as the roaring waterfall and various animal noises with unimpeachable clarity. Even the more kinetic moments are handled with ease. Warner Archive has provided a mighty audio presentation that does not exhibit any signs of age-related weakness. The disc also comes with optional English (SDH) subtitles.
- Making Of Featurette – Jungle Safari: A ten-minute archival piece finds a narrator surveying the journey of the production across Africa and all of the trials and tribulations faced. This is pretty fascinating as a historical artifact.
- Theatrical Trailer: The three-and-a-half minute trailer is provided here.
King Solomon’s Mines is a pretty fun adventure that is elevated by the decision to shoot most of the film on location in Africa. There have been many fine movies shot on studio backlots, but this attention to authenticity does bring a palpable energy to the journey. The film has some endearingly dated moments such as the giant spider prop utilized, which adds a sense of levity that is welcome. The African natives are not the most fleshed out or considered elements of this story, which does make things a bit uncomfortable at points from a modern perspective. The performances are really inviting throughout, leaving the audience to care more about where they end up rather than if they discover any treasure. Warner Archive has released a Blu-Ray featuring a knockout A/V presentation and a nifty archival featurette. Even if you are not one to lose your mind over this genre should find this one to be a notable entry. Recommended
King Solomon’s Mines can be purchased directly through MovieZyng or various other online retailers.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Warner Archive has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.