Plunder of the Sun
Special Edition, Collector's Edition, Collector's Special Edition
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A vivid tale of priceless Zapotecan artifacts, deadly deception and sinister treasure-seekers unfolds in Plunder Of The Sun, based on the novel by best-selling author DAVID DODGE (To Catch A Thief). Brought to the screen by JOHN WAYNEs Batjac production company, GLENN FORD (Gilda, Blackboard Jungle) stars as American insurance adjuster Al Colby, a man who unwittingly becomes involved with a fortune in ancient curios after being asked to carry a mysterious package aboard a ship sailing from Havana to Mexico. Colbys seemingly innocent mission becomes a dangerous game of pursuit when he discovers that others-including two seductive women (DIANA LYNN, PATRICIA MEDINA) and a double-crossing rogue (SEAN McLORY) are determined to take possession of the parcel he carries at any cost. JOHN FARROW (The Big Clock, Hondo) directs this mystery-thriller set amidst the spectacular archaeological ruins of Mitla and Monte Alban near Oaxaca, Mexico.
Plunder of the Sun plays like a low-budget merging of two Bogart classics, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The Maltese Falcon. Wiseguy Al Colby (Glenn Ford) finds himself short of funds in Havana, but a mysterious antiquities trader (Francis L. Sullivan, doing his best Sydney Greenstreet) enlists Colby to transport a package from Cuba to Mexico. The package is a piece in a puzzle that could lead to millions in ancient gold, possibly buried in the elaborate ruins of Zapotecan temples--if Colby can survive the other adventurers jockeying to get the stuff. Director John Farrow keeps the story moving and the shadows at a satisfyingly noirish level even if the material never rises to anything like classic status, while Glenn Ford provides a fitting cruel streak for his nobody-makes-a-sucker-out-of-me hero. This was one of two movies Farrow made in Mexico that year for John Wayne's Batjac production company, the other being Hondo. The balled-up plot, international gaggle of eccentric performers (most colorfully Wayne regular Sean McClory), and somewhat chintzy location shooting call to mind another globe-trotting movie of that era, Orson Welles' Mr. Arkadin, and this movie even shares actress Particia Medina with that picture. --Robert Horton
- The John Wayne Stock Company: Sean McClory
- On Location with Glenn Ford
- Batjac Trailer
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Photo Gallery
- Plundering History
- -The Oaxaca Valley
- -The Codex
- -The Ball Court
- -The Great City of Monte Alban
- -The Hall of Columns at Mitla
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Directed by John Farrow
Several interested parties converge upon the Mexican Aztec ruins in search of a long-buried treasure. Insurance investigator Al Colby (Glenn Ford) is ostensibly the hero, but he doesn't seem any more trustworthy than the rest of the petty crooks, fallen women and alcoholics who've gone along for the archaeological ride. Pretty soon the treasure hunters have fallen out and murder is committed
Adapted from a novel by David Dodge
The script plays fast and loose with the novel, changing the locale from Peru to Mexico and now the search is on for Aztec artifacts instead of Incan. All things considered, this is a tightly directed and well acted tale.
Ford's strong characterization provides enough impetus to carry the film along; the writers apparently saw "Gilda" and decided that Glenn Ford would be even more popular if he was a complete misogynist. There are some really fun lines of dialog that he throws out there in his cynical way. McClory was also very impressive in a menacing character role. There are numerous small character parts that are all handled with great consistency by director Farrow.
The B&W cinematography is quite good, with its dark shadows and strange camera angles. It's almost "noirish". Filmed on location in Mexico, the outdoor visuals convey a sense of grand scope and historical authenticity.
1. John Farrow [aka: John N.B. Villiers-Farrow] [Director]
Date of Birth: 10 February 1904 - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Date of Death: 28 January 1963 - Beverly Hills, California
2. Glenn Ford (aka: Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford)
Date of Birth: 1 May 1916 - Sainte-Christine, Quebec, Canada
Date of Death: 30 August 2006 - Beverly Hills, Los Angeles County, California
3. Diana Lynn [aka: Dolores Loehr]
Date of Birth: 7 October 1926 - Los Angeles, California
Date of Death: 18 December 1971 - Los Angeles, California
4. Patricia Medina
Date of Birth: 19 July 1919, Liverpool, England, UK
Date of Death: Unknown
5. Francis L. Sullivan [aka: Francis Loftus Sullivan]
Date of Birth: 6 January 1903 - London, England, UK
Date of Death: 19 November 1956 - New York City, New York
6. Sean McClory [aka: Séan Joseph McClory]
Date of Birth: 8 March 1924 - Dublin, Ireland
Date of Death: 10 December 2003 - Hollywood Hills, California
Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 4 Stars
Performance: 4 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]
Total Time: 81 min on DVD ~ Warner Bros. Pictures ~ (June 6, 2006)
No classic, but a slick disposable entertainment, and well presented in Paramount's DVD. The extras aren't quite as comprehensive as they seem, with most dealing with the locations, but it's a good package.
Ford is Al Colby, a down-on-his-luck American recruited by rotund Thomas Berrien (Sidney Greenstreet-channeling Francis L. Sullivan) to slip a package through Mexican customs. When Berrien unexpectedly dies, a variety of characters offers Colby money, potential treasure, or his life, in exchange for the mysterious package, which he discovers contains part of an ancient document mapping where a hidden cache of priceless artifacts is buried. Seduced by both beautiful native girl Patricia Medina, who seems involved with all the 'major players', and drunken American 'party girl' Diana Lynn (doing a 'Gloria Grahame' impression), and 'educated' through beatings and genial lectures by the mysterious 'Jefferson' (scene-stealing Sean McClory), Colby teeters between succumbing to the vast wealth the document promises, and 'doing the right thing', and turning everything over to the Mexican authorities, who legally 'own' the artifacts. While Ford's portrayal lacks the subtle shadings of Bogart or Mitchum, he handles the moral dilemma quite well, and he certainly can take a beating!
With much of the action filmed at actual Aztec sites, in Oaxaca, Mexico, the film has an authentic 'feel', is fast-paced, and very watchable.
Certainly worth a look!