Alan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986)

Country: United States
Director: Gary Nelson
Starring: Richard Chamberlain, Sharon Stone, James Earl Jones, Henry Silva, Robert Donner, Cassandra Peterson
Music: Michael Linn
Based on the novel by H. Rider Haggard

Alan Quatermain And The Lost City Of Gold is a follow up to King Solomon’s Mines, which also starred Richard Chamberlain as Alan Quatermain, and Sharon Stone as perpetually screaming and shrieking Jessie Huston. The film is a step down from its predecessor, which wasn’t too good to begin with.

The film opens well enough with Alan Quatermain and Jessie Huston about to leave Africa for America where they plan to marry. The day before they are due to embark, a fellow adventurer, known to Quatermain, stumbles out of the jungle with some angry natives on his trail. Quatermain fights off the natives and gives the adventurer sanctuary. This guy had been a travelling companion to Quatermain’s younger brother Robeson (which I guess is a homage to Paul Robeson – who played Umbopa in the 1937 version of King Solomon’s Mines). Naturally, Quatermain is now concerned for his brother who wandered off into the jungle many months ago searching for the Lost City of Gold.

That night, the natives return to Quatermain’s home and sneak into the room where the adventurer lay recuperating. This time they finish him off. In the morning Quatermain finds the dead body and decides some investigating is required. He decides to mount his own expedition to find the Lost City of Gold and hopefully his brother still alive. This doesn’t sit too well with Jesse who had made intricate travel and wedding arrangements. But she gets over it and tags along on Quatermain’s quest, screaming and shrieking as she goes.

Also joining the troupe is James Earl Jones as Umslopogaas. Umslopogaas carries a bloody great axe, which is pretty handy when you are travelling through hostile uncharted jungle territory. Providing comic relief is Robert Donna as Swarma, who is a greedy mystic. Swarma is basically a coward, but his greed drives him forward on the adventure.

Like the book King Solomon’s Mines, the novel Alan Quatermain on which this is based has been filmed a few time before. The most infamous version, is King Solomon’s Treasure which starred John Colicos as Alan Quatermain, and featured David McCallum, Britt Ekland, and Patrick Macnee. King Solomon’s Treasure is often regarded as one of the worst films ever made, and at times Alan Quatermain And The Lost City Of Gold looks set to keep that tradition alive with some truly awful acting, dodgy sets and special effects, and worst of all for a city of gold – gold that looks like mud. As a viewer, when I get to the city of gold, I want to say ‘Wow!’ – not ‘Oh look, they’ve dipped the city in chocolate!’.

Henry Silva, outfitted in a ridiculous wig, which makes him look like he is out of Spinal Tap gives an uncharacteristic wild performance as Agon, the evil would-be ruler of the City of Gold. Usually I like Silva because he is so cool and menacing, but here he is off the fucking planet. I guess he’s good for a laugh anyway, because that’s all this film is really good for is a few laughs. The ending is terrible – but so bad it is good (you know what I mean).

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