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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Watusi (1959)

An adventurer (George Montgomery) attempts a dangerous trek to the land of the Watusi in search of the legendary King Solomon's Mines. He is accompanied by his friend (David Farrar) and a missionary's daughter (Taina Elg) that they find on the journey. Based on the novel by H. Rider Haggard from a screenplay by James Clavell (SHOGUN) and directed by Kurt Neumann (1959's THE FLY). The film utilizes a large amount of footage from the 1950 MGM version. So much so that Deborah Kerr (the 1950 female lead) is practically used as a body double for Taina Elg. Sydney Guilaroff even cut Elg's hair to match Kerr's. As for the film itself, it dutifully follows the path of its predecessors (including the 1937 version) but adds a romantic rivalry between the two men for the hand of Elg as well as Montgomery having to deal with his hatred of Germans (this is post WWI but pre-WWII). The film was a low budget affair (MGM saved money and special effects by using the old footage) so that the film turned a profit for the studio. It's okay for a Saturday matinee kind of adventure but not as good as the 1950 film but better than the 1985 Richard Chamberlain version.

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