Secret of the Incas (1954)
If ever there was an actor who could have played Indiana Jones in the fifties, it had to be Charlton Heston!
Heston plays a very Indiana Jones like character here who preys upon tourists in Peru. Travelers that include Glenda Farrell who has cast her eyes on Chuck in hopes that he will show her more than just the regular night spots. There opening scene is sprinkled with sexual innuendo that rides the fine line of going to far for the sensor board.
From the outset Heston is in competition with shady Thomas Mitchell for a long lost Inca treasure. A recent discovery leads Heston on a climb to Machu Picchu. Before he embarks on the journey he gets mixed up with intrigue and beautiful french actress Nicole Maurey. She has access to a plane and Heston just might be her ticket to America. Romance is sure to ensue. In classic Heston dialogue we get the line, “A girl like you, you’re made for somebody like me.” Can you just picture his grimace?
Things go smoothly till Heston discovers Robert Young is already on the ancient mountain top for a sponsored dig with government protection. Things go from bad to worse when Mitchell shows up looking for his share of the treasure.
All four of our leads are well cast here with gentle Robert Young doing nice work here in the role of the archaeologist. Heston will have to make a decision when it comes to choosing sides before the final reel.
It’s impossible not to think of the Indiana Jones films while watching this. Heston is practically wearing the same costume and there is a very “Raiders” like scene in the tomb where the treasure is supposedly hidden.
There is some nice location shooting mixed in here with studio shots from director Jerry Hopper. Hopper directed Heston previously in Pony Express and would also team with him again for The Private War of Major Benson (fun film). From there he would move into television episodes on many popular sixties titles including The Fugitive and Gilligan’s Island.
This was also Robert Young’s final big screen appearance as he moved into television for the remainder of his career.
Heston was of course just picking up steam and would become one of those bigger than life screen stars for the next 25 years. This rare title is worth seeking out if you can locate a copy. It’s taken me quite a while and I am glad to finally add it to the shelf.