KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1937) B/W 80m dir: Robert Stevenson
w/Paul Robeson, Cedric Hardwicke, Roland Young, John Loder, Anna Lee, Sydney Fairbrother, Majabalo Hiubi, Ecce Homo Toto, Robert Adams, Frederick Leister
Not as scenic as the Technicolor remake [KING SOLOMON'S MINES (1950) with Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr], this early British version of the H.Rider Haggard novel follows the book more closely. The majestic Robeson, as the mysterious African chieftain Umbopa, fills the screen with a star quality seldom captured by Hollywood. The story of the search for a lost diamond mine is often exciting.
From The Movie Guide: "Robeson almost singlehandedly undermines the racism in this classic adventure tale. It's a shame he had to go to England to become a movie star and even then (with occasional exceptions like PROUD VALLEY) he was generally cast as semi-articulate but sweet African natives. In this respect his very American singing interludes throw the entire film out of kilter, but he's so good that one really doesn't care.
"He, Hardwicke, Fairbrother and Young are the standouts in KING SOLOMON'S MINES, which does less well by its romantic lead roles. ... The script is decent and director Stevenson shows the promise he would later (sometimes) get to display in Hollywood."