Solomon and Sheba


Action / Drama / History / Romance / War

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 60%
IMDb Rating 6.2 10 2346


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May 19, 2015 at 02:22 PM



Yul Brynner as Solomon
Tyrone Power as Solomon
George Sanders as Adonijah
2.06 GB
23.976 fps
2hr 21 min
P/S 5 / 10

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tomsview 6 / 10

The bits the Bible missed

When I first saw "Solomon and Sheba" as an 11-year old in 1959, I knew that every time Gina Lollobrigida's Sheba entered the scene, the action would slow down. Now, six decades later, I think she is about the only reason to watch it.

Set in Israel back in the BC, peace-loving Solomon (Yul Brynner) inherits the kingdom from his father King David (Finlay Currie). However Israel is surrounded by enemies; mainly Egypt, but also his brother Adonijah (George Sanders), who feels he should have inherited the throne.

There were a couple of surprises early in the movie: Yul Brynner with hair and George Sanders as a warrior. More at home in formal wear, George Sanders, the master of sophisticated wit, was getting a bit old for this type of thing, but he wasn't a good fit anyway; it was almost as silly as dressing him up as a cowboy. In the battle that opens the movie, he handles his sword as though he was tossing a light summer salad.

As the story progresses, Gina Lollobrigida's Queen of Sheba is in an alliance with the Pharaoh of Egypt and heads to Israel to use her ample charms to seduce Solomon into a false sense of security. Sheba hits the ground dancing, and in a scene of frenetic pagan ritual, she wears a bra that almost seems like two wiry hands clasping her breasts from behind.

Along with Sophia Loren and Claudia Cardinale, 'La Lollo' was one of that fabulous trio of Italian actresses that heated up the screen in the 50's and 60's. Like the others, she had what was usually described as a full figure - pretty much the accepted shape for females before the arrival of personal trainers.

The interiors of the film were shot on dull, chunky looking sets. However the film lifts when the story moves outdoors and gets some sand. Eventually the big battle arrives and it's not too bad as these things go. The director King Vidor could conduct a good battle (The Big Parade, War and Peace)). Here he mixes dust and chariots well. In the climactic battle, Pharaoh's army falls for it again; instead of the Red Sea closing over them, this time they are blinded by the polished shields of Solomon's men and topple over a cliff - not a bad effect for that CGI-less era.

These days I think "Solomon and Sheba" might just be too heavy going for a modern audience - La Lollo's bra notwithstanding. Anyway Ridley Scott seems to be remaking all those old sword and sandals numbers so you could just wait until he gets around to this one.

Reviewed by LeonLouisRicci 6 / 10

Hear "God" Speak......Watch the Pagan Orgy......See the "Temple" Destroyed...or Not

Two Outstanding Set-Pieces, the "Orgy" Ritual and the Final Battle Highlight this Slow, Talky, sometimes Dull Display of Hebrews, Egyptians, and for Spice the "Queen of Sheba" around a Thousand Years B.C.

Taken from a few Snippets in the "Old Testament" it tells the Extra-Biblical Story of Solomon (Yul Brynner) and the Queen of Sheba (Gina Lollobrigida). "Sheba" (as she is called here) is sent by Pharaoh to Spy and Seduce Solomon into Revealing His Secrets.

Speaking of Revealing. Sheba is Shown in an Array of Alluring Apparel to the Delight of Solomon and 1950's Audiences. There is much Prancing and Dancing.

The Movie is Typical Cornball for the Genre that was about to End its Cycle a Year Later with "Ben-Hur" (1959) and although that Film Swept the Oscars the "Biblical Epic" and the Cheap Sword and Sandal Imitators were Designed for the Dustbin of Hollywood History after a Ten Year Run.

This one is Worth a Watch with Low Expectations and for Eye-Candy Enthusiasts.

Note...Tyrone Power died of a heart-attack during filming and was replaced by Brenner. The production does have a faded glow residue.

Reviewed by Spikeopath 6 / 10

It is said that Solomon is wise. But no matter how wise he may be, he is still human, with a human weakness.

Solomon and Sheba is directed by King Vidor and collectively written by Anthony Veiller, Paul Dudley, George Bruce and Crane Wilbur. It stars Yul Brynner, Gina Lollobrigida, Marisa Pavan, George Sanders, David Farrar, Harry Andrews, John Crawford and Laurence Naismith. Music is by Mario Nascimbene and cinematography by Fred A. Young.

A fictionalised screenplay cribs from parts of the Bible, where the story here follows the relationship between Solomon of Israel and the Queen of Sheba, a problem because initially Sheba is in league with Israel's enemy, Egypt. All that and Solomon has to deal with his nefarious brother, Adonijah, who is a little miffed that Solomon has inherited the crown of Israel.

Famously it was the production that saw the sad death of the leading man, Tyrone Power, while Vidor was so disillusioned about the whole film he quit making feature length films. It's a very mixed bag, very much showing the good and bad sides of the big historical epics that dominated Hollywood back in the day. In part it's a grandiose melodrama, in others it's cheap looking and given to campy histrionics (the orgy operatics sequences are just awful), while the screenplay jostles with itself as to being biblical blarney or potent pontifications.

Costuming and colour photography smooths the eyes, but then the optical nerves are shredded by set design so poor a child making paper mache boulders could have done better. The cast are also in and out, Brynner is fine as Solomon (broody, brainy but troubled), as is the lovely Lollobrigida as Sheba (stoic, smart and sexy), but the support slots barely convince. Sanders is badly miscast as Solomon's warrior brother Adonijah (he was 53 at the time), 10 years earlier in Samson and Delilah his villain turn worked, but not here.

Sword fighting choreography is poor, as are the miracle effects work, but conversely the big battle that crowns the story is smart in writing and in execution, where not even the model work can dim the thrill of it all. Released in the same year as Ben-Hur obviously does it no favours by comparison! But then so many other big swords and shields epics would also struggle as well. Vidor's movie is just above average in the genre pantheon, but the faults are irritable and hardly render it as a must see film for genre enthusiasts. 6/10

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