InsidePulse DVD Review – Plunder of the Sun (Special Collector's Edition)

image courtesy of
John Farrow

Glenn Ford….Al Colby
Diana Lynn….Julie Barnes
Patricia Medina….Anna Luz
Francis L. Sullivan….Thomas Berrien
Sean McClory….Jefferson
Eduardo Noriega….Raul Cornejo
Charles Rooner….Captain Bergman
Douglass Dumbrille….Consul

Paramount Home Entertainment/Batjac presents Plunder of the Sun. Screenplay by Jonathan Latimer. Running time: 81 minutes. Unrated. Theatrical release: 1953. DVD released: June 6, 2006.

The Movie
Before Indiana Jones and Lara Croft, Al Colby crept around ancient temples looking for treasure. Colby isn’t an archeologist by trade. When we meet he’s in hot water with the Mexican authorities. He recounts how all the trouble started when he was a broke American slumming in a Havana hotel and dodging his bills. Even though he’s down on his luck, Colby can still afford a good shave and haircut. And it’s a good thing since his suave looks leads to him getting picked up by Anna Luz. She’s a rich man’s wife who wants to have a tropical fling. Colby decides that work is work and heads back to her place. Unfortunately it turns out that he’s not going to get laid. Thomas Berrien, her wheelchair-bound husband, is home and rolls up to Colby with a proposition. He needs him to smuggle a package from Cuba to Mexico. He’ll pay $1,000 for the service. What’s a down on his luck American supposed to do? He takes the gig, pays his hotel bill and gets on a freighter.

At sea, he discovers others are interested in his secret cargo. The most sinister is Jefferson, an Irish thug that craves the package. Berrien dies under mysterious circumstances on the trip. Colby decides that with his employer out of commission, it’s best to check out the package. But I won’t give away what’s in the box. What can be revealed is that it might be the clues to a treasure stashed inside an Oaxaca Valley ruin.

This film should have been a great adventure flick. It had exciting elements with cryptic maps and hidden tombs in Mexican pyramids. They shot on location at Mitla and Monte Alban in Mexico instead of a backlot. McClory makes a great villain with his close cut blonde hair, sunglasses and white suit. Patricia Medina is exotic and tempting as Anna Luz. And Glenn Ford played against type in the role of a scalawag. But this film lacked elements to put it over. Ford never looks like he’s in the movie. Instead of looking like an adventurer, Ford wears the business suit of an advertising agent. Even though they’re in the heart of Mexico, Ford doesn’t come close to breaking a sweat. There is nothing about him that says destitute like Bogart in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Diana Lynn doesn’t cut it as a tramp working her way across Mexico on her back. She’s just too clean cut to be a slut. The script also unravels as they force a clean ending on a gritty adventure. I was hoping that this would be an unheralded gem of a treasure hunt flick, but it seems to be one of those films that you don’t hear much about because there’s not much to say besides, look at those ancient pyramids.

Plunder of the Sunis also available as part of John Wayne’s Batjac Productions Presents The Suspense Collection along with Track of the Cat, Ring of Fear , and Man in the Vault.

The DVD:

The Video:

The film is presented in black and white in Academy 1.33:1 format. The transfer looks great.

The Audio:

This film is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. English subtitles. Glenn Ford’s son Peter Ford and historian Frank Thompson jabber on the commentary track.

Special Features:

Plundering History (18:25) – This is not a conventional behind the scenes feature. Instead we’re treated to Dr. David Carballo, an archaeologist familiar with Mexican history, discussing the ruins found in the Oaxaca Valley. He also sets straight some of the historical facts stated in the film.

On Location With Glenn Ford (1:55) – While down in Mexico, Glenn Ford took plenty of photos. We’re treated to a selection of these snapshots while Peter Ford reads a letter that his father wrote to his grandmother while in the midst of the shoot.

The John Wayne Stock Company: Sean McClory (13:49) A short documentary that gives background on this Irish actor who made his mark in a variety of John Wayne films including The Quiet Man and The High and the Mighty.

Photo Gallery – This collection features a lot of the pictures that were seen in the album Dr. Carballo flipped through in Plundering History.
Theatrical Trailer (2:20) – Glenn Ford sets up this film as a South of the Border suspense film.

InsidePulse’s Ratings for Plunder of the Sun (Special Collector’s Edition)
(OUT OF 10)






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