King Solomon’s Mines: The 1985 film

Thanks to the bad weather (it had been raining all morning) play in the fourth day of the Cricket Test Match against Australia had not started by midday and the gardening I had hoped to do during the morning had not been possible … so I sat down and watched the 1985 film version of KING SOLOMON’S MINES on the Film4 channel.

It was just the right sort of film to watch on such a miserable day. It starred Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, Herbert Lom, and John Rhys-Davis and was described as an action adventure comedy … which it undoubtedly was.

The plot can be summarised as follows. Allan Quatermain (Richard Chamberlain) is hired by Jesse Huston (Sharon Stone)…

… to find her father, Professor Huston (Bernard Archard), who is an archaeologist who has devoted his life to finding the location of the famous King Solomon’s Mines. Professor Huston has been kidnapped and tortured by Colonel Bockner (Herbert Lom) …

… of the Imperial German Army and a local Arab slave trader, Dogati (John Rhys-Davis) …

… who are also looking for the Mines. After Quatermain and Jesse rescue her father (who has told his torturers the location of the Mines), they set off to reach the Mines before the Germans and the Arabs. After a number of implausible but humorous adventures involving a lorry chase, a steam train, a couple of biplanes, a tribe of cannibals …

… with a massive cooking pot, …

… a pride of lions, a tribe that hangs upside down from trees, …

… and a tribe that is ruled by an ancient queen who disposes of opponents by dropping them into a pit full of crocodiles Quatermain and Jesse manage to reach the twin mountains (the Breasts of Sheba) that mark the entrance to the Mines just ahead of the opposition. Jesse is dragged inside the Mines by the ancient tribal queen and her loyal guards, …

… followed by Quatermain and his native assistant, who are in turn pursued by the Germans and Arabs. The latter are held up by quicksand, but Dogati solves the problem of how to get across by shooting most of the soldiers and slavers they have brought with them and using the dead bodies as a bridge across the quicksand. Bockner then shoots Dogati and takes over command of the remaining soldiers and slavers. Quatermain and his native assistant manage to rescue Jesse, but Bockner continues to chase them through the mines. It then transpires that besides a huge number of uncut diamonds the Mines also contain the bodies of the Queens of Sheba who have been encased in crystal. It also becomes apparent that Jesse bears a remarkable resemblance to the first Queen of Sheba. Whilst Bockner and Dogati (who was not killed when Bockner shot him because he was wearing a bulletproof chainmail jacket) are looting some of the diamonds, Quatermain and Jesse are trapped by a rock door but manage to escape. A rockfall then appears to trap Dogati, but Bockner is able to follow Quatermain, his native assistant, and Jesse. Bockner is killed when he forces Quatermain and Jesse to hand over the diamonds that they have picked up. Dogati then reappears and is killed whilst he is fighting with Quatermain when an explosion destroys the exit from the Mines. Quatermain’s native assistant then makes it known that he is the rightful king of the local tribe, and the film ends with Quatermain and Jesse leaving the native village … each with a large diamond!

The film was total hokum … but it cheered me up no end on an otherwise drab and dreary day.


6 Comments on “King Solomon’s Mines: The 1985 film”

  1. Francis Lee says:

    I too watched it before going to work the other day, a homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark….even the music was similar, worth a watch though!

  2. Francis Lee,

    I am glad to hear that I am not the only person who finds this sort of film a bit of fun with which to fill part of their day.

    You are right about it being a homage to the Indiana Jones films … even down to the fact that John Rhys-Davis appeared in two of the Indiana Jones films as well!

    All the best,


  3. That's my wife's favorite movie! Total camp but lines from the movie crop up on a regular basis around here “and what for me?!” and so on.

    Like a visual form of comfort food.

  4. Gonsalvo says:

    Not quite Indy, but still a very fun film. Worth another viewing – it has been years since I last saw it.

  5. Ross Mac,

    It certainly isn't a film that is supposed to be taken seriously, with the result that it is a very enjoyable one to watch. I am not surprised that your wife likes it, or that quotes from it crop up in conversation every so often.

    All the best,


  6. Gonsalvo,

    It certainly has some of the better elements of an Indiana Jones film … and was very enjoyable to watch.

    All the best,


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