For those who like this sort of thing ...
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like '50s sword-and-sandal epics, you'll LOVE this unsung gem. Forget her biblical namesake; THIS is one BAD QUEEN, played by fabulous uber-diva Eleonora Ruffo in a scene-chewing turn that can only be rivaled by some of the greats of the silent cinema (think Gloria Swanson in "The Loves of Sunya"). It's amazing that Director Pietro Francisci (mentor to Mario Bava) would give his star long, essentially silent closeups, and more amazing that B-queen Ruffo could pull them off - watch her learn of her lover's purported betrayal. Her expression zooms through surprise, shock, despair, confusion, anger, and, eventually, the vengeful spite of a woman scorned. Also fantastic sets, a great supporting cast, and the usual kitschy trappings of "ancient splendor" (catch the inevitable court dancing girls - this time cavorting to a distinctly Cuban beat). All-in-all, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all lovers of the Italian epic."
The Queen of Sheba
G. D. Williams | USA | 01/10/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This black/white Italian production is a fine piece of film making. It takes a reference in the Old Testament to the Queen of Sheba and turns it into a well written film with twists and turns.
It is not Solomon who is smitten by the legendary beauty of the Queen but the crown prince, Rehoboam. What follows is a love story between Prince Rehoboam and Princess Balkis, who becomes the Queen upon her father's untimely death.
As with all good love stories there must be a foil to the protagonist. Kabaal, the Commander of Sheba's army, is madly in love with Balkis. Kabaal is a harsh disciplinarian and a great warrior. His skill as an archer is impressive.
Now, Princess Balkis is no water lily. She is a skilled warrior with great intelligence and insight.
Rehoboam is no pampered prince. His skills with the sword and bow are an equal match for Kabaal. Like all good stories, the fight at the end between the protagonist and the antagonist is excellently played out. The fight of archers was a nice touch.
Another element of good storytelling is the faithful friend of the protagonist. In this case it is Isachar who resembles Hercules in physique. What is nice about the film is that Isachar is given a romantic interest as well.
Solomon is presented like a crafty lawyer who understands human behavior and is keen on reading body language. He always has the right word for the occasion.
One comment has to be made about Zamair, Princess of Tyre. For two long years she has been in Jerusalem awaiting her marriage to Rehoboam. Even though she only has a few scenes, those moments are gripping and her ultimate sacrifice is a trademark of true love.
The great Italian composer, Nino Rota, did the score. Pietro Francisci's direction is the right blend of elements.
So if you want a good romance film with intrigue, beautiful sets, and plenty of action, then I strongly recommend the Queen of Sheba. The black/white is no hindrance to this story. In fact, it adds to it. And the Italian cast is superb.