Today in Movie History: November 24

We’ve got a brief bevy of minor films of note for Black Friday, starting with King Solomon’s Mines, a fine adventure saga based on the 19th century novel of the same name. The film is notable for shooting in authentic African locations, and also for its surprisingly sensitive portrayal of the local Masai tribes, including renditions of their traditional dances and songs. It opened today in 1950.

Elvis has been on the menu a lot this week, and there’s no reason to stop now. Harum Scarum definitely belongs in the WTF File, sending the King to 1960s-era Baghdad to have some fun with a fistful of horrifying Arabian stereotypes. It’s offensive in so many, many ways… and yet in so bizarrely over-the-top that you can’t help but stare at it in wide-eyed fascination. As the trailer says, “in your wildest nightmares, you’ve never imagined such goings-on.” They’re not kidding. Harum Scarum opened today in 1965.

We’ll close with Murder on the Orient Express a rather stodgy adaptation of the Agatha Christa classic that does a solid-though-unexceptional job with a very well-known story. (The recent Kenneth Branagh version is an improvement.) The all-star cast is a genuine plus, though Albert Finney is quite hammy as Hercule Poirot. The film also netted Ingrid Bergman her third and final Oscar. It opened today in 1974.


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