The movie stars George Montgomery as Allan Quartermain's son Harry, who visits Africa in 1919 with a plan to search for the fabled mines. He makes the safari along with his father's friend Rick (David Farrar) and Erica (Taina Elg), a missionary's daughter the men rescue along the way.
WATUSI, an MGM film like the original KING SOLOMON'S MINES, uses copious amounts of location footage from the earlier film; in fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen a film which borrowed from another so extensively!
This film was even cast with two male leads and one actress in order to take advantage of long shots of Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr, and Richard Carlson -- or, more likely, long shots of their doubles! It's amusing to think the doubles unknowingly stood in for the casts of not one but two different movies.
The stars of WATUSI can't hold a candle to the original film -- I think it was Granger's best role -- but Montgomery is in fine physical form and Farrar and Elg (of LES GIRLS) are adequate in support.
WATUSI is actually a reasonably entertaining 85 minutes, it's just no KING SOLOMON'S MINES. (Except for, well, when it is.) The movie even manages to have some nicely evocative moments, such as the drumbeats heard over the opening titles. Fans of jungle adventures or Montgomery will probably find it worth a look, as I did.
WATUSI was directed by Kurt Neumann and filmed by Harold E. Wellman. The screenplay was by James Clavell (SHOGUN).
The WATUSI DVD from the Warner Archive is an attractive widescreen print, though it's definitely noticeable when the film cuts back and forth from the cleaner "new" footage to the jungle footage shot nearly a decade earlier. (In fact, it's interesting the footage was originally used in an "Academy ratio" film, and this was a widescreen movie.) There are no extras on the DVD.
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.