DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

WATUSI (director: Kurt Neumann; screenwriter: James Clavell/from the novel "King Solomon's Mines" by H. Rider Haggard; cinematographer: Harold E. Wellman; editor: William B. Gulick; cast: George Montgomery (Harry Quartermain), Rex Ingram (Umbopa), Taina Elg (Erica Neuler), David Farrar ( Rick Cobb), Dan Seymour (Mohamet), Robert Goodwin (Jim-Jim); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Al Zimbalist; MGM; 1959)

"If the story becomes boring, as a consolation you can always take in the gorgeous landscape shot in lush Technicolor."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A poor remake of King Solomon's Mines, which is based on the H. Rider Haggard novel of the same name. It's directed by Kurt Neumann ("The Deerslayer"/"Kronos"/"The Fly") and written by James Clavell. What it does well is the skillful use of the footage from the original.

In this adventure film, set in 1919, in Africa, Harry Quartermain (George Montgomery), son of famous white hunter Allan Quartermain, seeks out his father's close associate, former jungle guide Rick Cobb, to help him follow in his father's footsteps to the King Solomon's Mines to bring back the valuable diamonds rumored to be stored there that dad couldn't.

Cobb organizes the risky safari, retracing Allan's route from twenty years ago. The guide is concerned about crossing Watusi land, where the mines are located. But Harry says he has no fear because dad gave him a special medallion that was given to him by the Watusi tribe who guard the mines. Also because he was a captain in the Scottish guard in the Great War and knows how to handle firearms.

On the trail, they discover a German missionary killed by natives and rescue his daughter, Erica Neuler (Taina Elg), from natives torturing her. When the trio burn down a footbridge so the marauding natives can't follow, it causes an animal stampede (taken from borrowed footage). Further trouble comes when Harry has the fever. But Erica treats him, and he's grateful. Tension mounts when both men desire the beautiful Erica. When they reach the mines, Harry presents the medallion to the Watusi chief, Umbopa (Rex Ingram), and the trio is allowed to explore the mines.

The only surprises left are if the men will find the diamonds and which man will Erica choose to wed.

If the story becomes boring, as a consolation you can always take in the gorgeous landscape shot in lush Technicolor.

REVIEWED ON 12/26/2015       GRADE: C+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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