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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Solomon And Sheba (1959)

While Israel enjoys prosperity and peace under the rule of King Solomon (Yul Brynner), the Queen Of Sheba (Gina Lollobrigida) conspires with the Egyptian Pharaoh (David Farrar) to destroy him. A below average Biblical epic and a poor swan song for the director King Vidor (THE CROWD). Three screenwriters and no one could come up with anything but the standard "Biblical" stilted dialogue. It's nowhere near as fun as DeMille's SAMSON AND DELILAH which managed to be quite entertaining amid all the kitsch and purple dialogue. The film does reach one moment of delirious kitsch, however. When the Sheban Queen hosts a fertility festival and Lollobrigida bumps and grinds while all the male dancers do pelvic thrusts to pagan drums, you're in guilty pleasure heaven. If only the rest of the film matched that demented sequence, we might have had something instead of the piousness. The score by Mario Nascimbene isn't bad though and the Freddie Young's (LUST FOR LIFE) 70 millimeter Technirama lensing is quite elegant. With George Sanders (in a rare bad performance), Marisa Pavan, Harry Andrews, Finlay Currie, Jean Anderson and Laurence Naismith.

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