SECRET OF THE INCAS —not bad 1954 adventure with spectacular scenery as chief lure. Two down & out, less-than-upright fortune hunters (Charlton Heston and Thomas Mitchell) locked in on finding a 30-pound bauble called ‘Incan Sunburst’, come into competition from an archaeological expedition (led by Robert Young) whose motives for finding the treasure are of a more noble sort.
Romance with Nicole Maurey complicates things further, thieves fall out: adequate conflicts performed decently enough. It’s the Andes that grab and hold attention here, and the fabled ruins of Machu Picchu, sights that were seldom on view except in travelogues back when this came out.
Heston’s character is seedier than he is associated with, and this film is noted as being one that served as part of the modeling for Indiana Jones, not least in the wardrobe realm. Chuck served surly time in the southern hemisphere earlier that same year,not looking for gold but looking for a way to avoid being devoured by ants in The Naked Jungle. As for Young, this was his last feature film before switching to television for the remainder of his career, to great success in Father Knows Best and Marcus Welby M.D. where his brand of good-natured solidity played better than it had on the big screen.
The haunting, one-of-a-kind voice of Yma Sumac adds greatly to the atmosphere, and hundreds of dazzlingly garbed Peruvian extras fill up the backgrounds. Directed by Jerry Hopper, with Glenda Farrell, Michael Pate, Leon Askin, Rodolpho Hoyos. 101 minutes.