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|Index||23 reviews in total|
Like it's academy award winning predecessor, "The Treasure of Sierra
Gold and the greed that comes with it make for a compelling motion
"Lust For Gold" is really two stories, one set in the present (at least 1949 when the film was made), one set some 50 years earlier. The contemporary part of the story begins with a man named Barry Storm searching for gold. He is no ordinary prospector though. His grandfather was the legendary Jacob Walz who had discovered the "Lost Dutchman Mine". Storm is not the only one looking for the gold however. Among the others are an explorer, and a killer.
A powerhouse trio of stars, Glenn Ford, Ida Lupino and Gig Young, are the protagonists of the historical part of the story. Ford plays Walz, an evil man who finds the gold mine and Lupino, is a no good woman one of many trying to get her hands on the treasure, and Young is equally villainous as Lupino's husband.
There are many elements to this story and they are blended to perfection. S Sylvan Simon, more known as a "B" film director for MGM, had the perfect read on this one. He came into his own as a helmsman with this picture. Unfortunately, this was his last film, succumbing to a heart attach at the age of 41 not long after the completion of this.
Besides, Ford, Lupino and Young, William Prince as Barry Storm has the best role of his acting career. The film boasts a supporting cast of several people who went on to fame and fortune on television. Among them, Edgar Buchanan (Petticoat Junction) Paul Ford (The Phil Silvers Show), Jay Silverheels (The Lone Ranger) and Will Geer (The Waltons).
This film, not made on a big budget, is a real sleeper. It is a great example of what can happen when professionals like these go out to mine a great film. It comes up solid gold
The "Lost Dutchman" Gold Mine has entered American folklore as one of
those unattainable, and menacing, treasures. Supposedly Jacob Walz
found it in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, and died without
ever revealing fully it's location. At least a dozen people have died
violently searching for it. Therefore this film easily adds to the
story of greed and blood that covers the wealth of that forgotten mine.
I liked the negative performances of the leads (Ford, Lupino, and Young), none of whom are likable or redeemable. It was very unusual to see them in such characterizations (although Lupino had played some villainous types, like "Betsy Broke" in "The Light That Failed"). Young was still a few years from his first decent role, the weak drunkard in "Come Fill The Cup". Ford usually played good guys, although he did play the politically ambitious Civil War madman in "The Man From Colorado" in this period. But here they all cut their teeth quite well in the film as low lives.
The interesting thing is that they are not the only villains - greed also percolates in the modern part of the movie, where the hero (William Prince) discovers the most unlikely, deadly villain facing him at the end.
Altogether a worthwhile film.
I haven't seen this film in a long time and it seems to be a relatively unknown film but this is worth looking for. This is the story of the lost Peralta mine in Arizona's Superstition Mountains near Pheonix better known in legend as The Lost Dutchman's Mine. The film begins in the present day of the film's release of 1949 and we discover there have been several murders recently related to the unknown whereabouts of the mine. The film goes back in time to 1880 and tells the story of the German-born prospector John Walz erroneously called The Dutchman. Between 1880 and his claims to have discovered the mine that had been known by the native Arizona Indians long before, and up to 1949 some 20 murders have been associated with the mine. This film takes some liberties from the story of Walz who didn't come to the area until he was 58 years old and by the time of the film's setting in the 1880's he was in his 70's. Glen Ford stars as Walz in this unusual film noir/western. Ida Lupino is Julian and Gig Young is Pete. In the excellent supporting cast are Edgar Buchanan, Will Gere, Jay Silverheels, Arthur Hunnicut, Paul Ford and William Prince as Barry Storm who wrote the book Thunder God's Gold from which this film is adapted from. S. Sylvan Simon was a versatile director best known for comedies he directed for such comics as Red Skelton and Abbot & Costello but also a film noir director of such films as Grand Central Station, I Love Trouble and Washington Melodrama. Archie Stout who would win an Oscar along with Winton C. Hoch for their photography in The Quiet Man is this film's cinematographer. Ida Lupino would tap Stout to be the cinematographer of her directorial debut in Never Fear, the first of three films they would do together. I would give this an 8.5 out of 10.
An excellent movie with a complicated plot. The story starts & ends in the present (1948); a long flashback sequence in the middle describes the time period 1880-1887. The grandson of the rediscoverer of the richest goldmine in America (worth $20 million back in those days!) goes to search for the mine, but becomes involved in a series of unresolved murders. The stars of the movie (Ford, Lupino, & Young) are all part of the flashback sequence. There's mystery, action, murders, romance, treasure, singing, double-crossing & more in this exciting western. All the actors do a fine job (Edgar Buchanan is great in a small role & we get to see Jay Silverheels just before he started doing Tonto in the Lone Ranger TV series). The plot is long & winding & holds the viewer's interest, & the conclusion is highly ironic & oh-so frustrating! Highly recommended for western & treasure & romance fans. This one rates a 10!
From its initial release in 1949, to the VHS forty years later, to the DVD this year, Columbia Pictures never had a clue how great this movie is. Always under promoted, always passed off as just another cheap western; until it was listed on eBay where buyers have been hungrily going for it. The unique structure has a present day (1948) narrative set in Florence, Arizona, as the Dutchman's grandson seeks the Lost Dutchman mine. This part is the first 20 minutes and the final 20 minutes of the movie. In the middle is a gritty, excellent flashback that tells the Dutchman's story: Greed, romance, betrayal, more betrayal, and more greed. Frankly, I've watched the 40 minute middle of this movie over 50 times. It always grabs me. I was 11 years old when I saw this movie at the Silver. It impressed me then, but more so now. Be sure you see this one.
I saw this on TV years ago and was very impressed and needless to say the recent DVD release got me really excited. I am pleased to say LUST FOR GOLD lives up to my memory. The first thing that struck me was the film noir aspects of LFG - the flashback structure, the first person narration, the anti-heroes of the flashback story and those dark shadows and sinister characters. I have always loved Ida Lupino and what a great femme fa-tale she makes - cold, greedy and obsessed with "lust for gold". Glen Ford is at his most villainous and gruff - although his German accent comes and goes.Gig Young is the perfect scorned husband patsy. There are surprises galore like the abrupt ending of the flashback and the parallel "natural" threat that is a warning to the modern day hero and the undoing of the villain. Coming a year before WINCHESTER 73, LFG is one of the earliest noir westerns ( like Blood on the Moon and Pursued) and has a cast of noirish actors fulfilling their doomed roles. A real classic!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I rather enjoyed the description of the Superstition Mountain area of
Arizona in the film's opening narrative as 'Satan's Private Art
Gallery'. The picture itself seemed to offer a preview of hell's future
citizens with it's gripping story of the Lost Dutchman Mine, discovered
by Jacob Walz in the 1880's at the end of a Sharp's rifle and a host of
dead bodies. Though I don't know how much of the story's background is
true historically, the legend of the Mexican Peralta brothers is
displayed in a noirish flashback within a flashback. In it, the Apache
Indians led by Cochise look like the most realistic tribe of Native
American Indians I've ever seen portrayed in cinema, including I
suppose "Dances With Wolves".
The cast is respectable and well suited for their roles, all appearing in the movie's main flashback story. Prospector Walz is portrayed by Glenn Ford, while Ida Lupino impresses as the gold digging (no pun intended) wife of Gig Young's character, in hiding from a murder rap back in Wisconsin. The locals of Florence Junction get a howl out of Pete's (Young) remark to Walz at the barber shop - "You can have my place", Walz not yet realizing what the town gossipers have been guffawing about.
In all of these period pieces I get a kick out of reminders of an earlier, simpler time - how about the sign in Julia's (Lupino) bakery shop - 10 cents a dozen for doughnuts!
Besides the main characters, it's also cool to see Will Geer, Paul Ford and Jay Silverheels in supporting roles, with a feisty Edgar Buchanan shuffling cards in his hat looking for that elusive ace of spades. Stay sharp and you also might recognize Billy Gray as the 'cookie boy'. As for Lupino, it seems I only ever see her playing roles with a dark side, as she did in team ups with my favorite actor Humphrey Bogart - 1940's "They Drive By Night" and 1941's "High Sierra". In fact, with the mountainous terrain at the center of this picture, that might have been a good name for this flick as well.
With it's gold fever theme, colorful cast of characters, and greed at every turn, this is a worthwhile follow up to the better known "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", released a year prior in 1948. Not as strong as 'Sierra', it's still pretty much a sleeper hit for fans of this unique genre, a mix of Western and gritty film noir.
I saw this film in first release, and still remember it well. It is a rehash of the more enjoyable legends of the Lost Dutchman's Mine in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. The casting of solid pros for all the roles probably lifts the film beyond the level of programmer. Gig Young was years away from the recognition that came with "They Shoot Horses Don't They?" and somewhat a prisoner of his classical good looks. Glenn Ford, not conventionally handsome, was a star at the time. People still search for the Lost dutchman, or "Dutchman's Lost Mine" in Arizona to this day. It would be a shame if someone found it.
"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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A rather grim but extremely satisfying Western directed by S. Sylvan
Simon, features Glenn Ford as Jacob "Dutch" Walz, a German who
discovers "the richest goldmine in the world" in 19th century Arizona.
Although not as well-known as other Columbia Westerns, it holds up very
well, and is much more appreciated now than it was when it was released
in 1949. Juliet Thomas (Ida Lupino) is the cold-hearted woman who
pretends to admire Walz as a man, when in fact she just wants to know
where his mine is located. She goes so far as to put him up in her home
after he collapses in a drunken stupor on the porch of her bakery, and
later lets him court her. She pretends to be German (even briefly
speaking to him in his native tongue), and feigns ignorance and
disinterest in his newfound status as a wealthy citizen. Her pursuit of
Jacob only infuriates her estranged husband, Pete Thomas (Gig Young),
who wants to be back on her good side (as well as her bed), and so they
quietly conspire together to learn the location of his mine and rob
Jacob of his fortune. But he is soon onto them and it ends on an
interesting showdown on Superstition Mountain.
Despite its serious tone, the film has some light-hearted moments, never more wonderfully presented as Juliet shows Jacob her family album and he comes across a photograph of her as an "au natural" baby, or the moment after Jacob hands off the cookies he bought from Juliet's shop to a young boy, who collapses under the weight of two massive baskets full! And Lupino shows her independent mind and capabilities in this unsympathetic role, while Gig Young's scoundrel manages to gain a little sympathy as the ignored husband. But Ford, who rarely played villainous roles, really brings uncompromising realism as a greedy, self-serving, ill-tempered man (the scene involving the little girl and him allowing her to "play" with his shotgun is a classic example of this). His attempt at a German accent falters in some sequences, but this does not deter from his performance.
This aspect of the movie is actually shown in flashback, the opening being of Jacob's grandson Barry Storm (William Prince) trying to find the mine and solve the mystery of the many puzzling, tragic deaths of those who have attempted to discover it. Fans of the Lone Ranger television series will enjoy the early, uncredited appearance of Jay Silverheels as a deputy.
Now I know why greed is among the seven most deadly sins!
The DVD features a few theatrical trailers.
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