The real Barry Storm, whose 1945 book had renewed interest in the Lost Dutchman Mine, did claim to have been shot at in the Superstition Mountains by a mysterious gunman known as Mr. X. See more »
In the scene where the Apaches attack the Spanish miners, one of the Apaches hurls a spear, hitting a miner. As the miner turns away and falls, you can briefly see light reflecting off of the guide-wire used to guide the prop spear to its target. See more »
Who is he?
Man in crowd:
Jacob Walz. Must be a Dutchman.
Or a German.
Man in crowd:
Yeah, that's what I said - a Dutchman.
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"Have a gumdrop," offers the cranky Jacob Walz as he woos the scheming Julia Thomas (Ida Lupino). Not the most romantic way of winning a lady's affections, but then Walz can afford a million gumdrops, having just found the fabulous Lost Dutchman gold mine. No wonder she looks pleased taking a little gooey one.
Don't let this fool you-- the movie's a fine under-rated adventure yarn, skillfully weaving together two time-lines surrounding the West's most legendary lost mine. So who's murdering unwary fortune hunters in the real time-line (1949)? Maybe if we follow the flashback to the 1880's we'll find out. It's then that Walz stumbles onto the mine first worked by Mexicans who ended up being massacred by Apaches. From that point on, the story really takes off.
Excellent production values. The earth-shaking special effects are unexpected and expertly done by the usually budget-minded Columbia studios. Ditto the cliff-side sets that blend well with background. Note how efficiently the script establishes the relationship between Julia and husband Pete (Gig Young) in their first scene, one that maybe more importantly satisfied censors of the day.
It's a complicated story-line, but very well coordinated by director S. Sylvan Simon. Note how effectively legend, fact, and melodrama are combined into a coherent tale of enchantment. Who would not be enticed by the real life clues leading to the mine's location-- all the coded pictographs, mysterious window rocks, and elusive sun spots. I expect more than a few would-be adventurers set- out because of this 90 minutes. However, let's hope they didn't set-out like many characters in the movie-- apparently without necessary provisions, that is, nary a burro, pack-horse or jeep in sight. Even Julia unfortunately appears in the desert sans hat!
Still and all, it's a fine cast. Was there ever a better sleek-looking gigolo than Gig Young, or a more soulful emoter than Lupino. She sure gets her chance, sweating her way up those sharp rocks in a nice slice of poetic justice. Ford's really excellent in those early scenes as the hard-bitten outsider. Note, however, how quickly he becomes Americanized losing his distinctive Dutch accent in the later scenes. And too bad Will Geer, the hayseed sheriff, disappeared from movies for decades courtesy the Hollywood blacklist. His grin here is one of the slyest on record.
Topping things off, the movie finishes up in an exciting action-filled climax with an especially droll final word. All in all, I wouldn't be surprised that the project was inspired by the success of the previous year's Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a movie with a similar theme of gold and adventure. I'm just sorry this little nugget hasn't achieve greater recognition for the highly entertaining sleeper it is.
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