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Release date: Dec 24, 1959
United Artists
Genre: Drama/Adventure/Biblical

Directed by King Vidor

Cast and Crew (IMDB)

Solomon and Sheba began filming in Madrid, Spain, in the fall of 1958. It was a big-budget motion picture, anticipated to be a screen spectatuclar, in the vein of Ben Hur.

The movie was produced by his good friend and business partner, Ted Richmond. Directing was the great King Vidor. Ty Power was back in one of those costume epic pictures with which his fans were so familiar.

He was re-teamed with George Sanders, a co-star of four of his earlier movies. They appeared together in the first big role for both of them, Lloyds of London. They had gone on to make Love is News, Son of Fury, and The Black Swan.

Gina Lollobrigida, Italian screen goddess, was his leading lady. They got along very well, as Ty so often did with those with whom he worked. According to some sources, the two of them had plans to do another movie together. Of course, the plans were never realized, due to Ty's untimely death.

The film shoot was stressful, but it was now about seventy-five percent complete. November 15, 1958, was a particularly difficult day. Ty and George Sanders were in the process of filming a duelling scene. The scene required retake upon retake, and Tyrone collapsed on the set, stricken with a massive heart attack. He was rushed to the hospital but died on the way.

The cast and crew of Solomon and Sheba were stunned by their star's sudden death. Production was suspended for a few weeks. When it resumed, Yul Brynner took over the role of Solomon, and all the scenes that had been filmed with Tyrone Power were re-shot, though some distant shots and back shots filmed with Ty were salvaged and used in the final print.

Noel Purcell was to have performed the role of King David. Following Ty's death, however, he was replaced in the film by Finlay Curray.

The director of the movie, King Vidor commented, "With Power, it would have been a marvelous picture. Without him, it turned out to be an unimportant, nothing sort of film."

One bit of irony of the movie is that, had the crowd scenes been filmed in the usual sequence of movies, it is possible that Ty's scenes would have already been done by the time of his death. Typically, the crowd scenes are shot at the end of the movie. In Solomon and Sheba , however, the crowd scenes were filmed first.

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