Reviews for Secret of the Incas ( ) 720p

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Suspenseful archaeological adventure

An unscrupulous American adventurer searches for a fabulous Inca treasure buried in a secret tomb high in the mountains of the Andes. However, he discovers he is not the only person after the priceless artefact.

Just one look at Charlton Heston dressed in khaki, fedora and brandishing a whip, and you know that this film influenced Spielberg in the Indiana Jones film, but just don't expect OTT, cliffhanging action, but a suspenseful archaeological drama thriller with some excitement and backed with interesting characters and eerie Peruvian singing ( though it can be too much singing and focus can be deterred from the story.) It does rely on its technicolour and location, but it's interesting enough to maintain your interest. There's some good acting, especially from Heston. Archaeological scenes are done really well,too.

Indiana Jones's Anti-Adventure Granddad

Jerry Hopper's cult film's cult film SECRET OF THE INCAS is already known to have inspired not only the Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones get-up including leather jacket and fedora...

But both need reminding how attractive they are... girl student eyelids there and smitten lady tourists Marion Ross and Glenda Farrell here...

But more importantly, each piece together an incomplete curio to find out exactly where the archeological treasure is, and that's the secret...

Sadly, by the time we reach the mountaintop Inca village where local crooner Yma Sumac chants songs from mystic opera to what sounds like Indian scat blues, Charlton Heston's fitfully named Harry Steele sits and waits for that gold while scheming double-crosser Thomas Mitchell waits to steal it...

However the real scene STEALER is THE WEAPON French beauty Nicole Maurey, banded with Heston for a dream ride to America before winding up on his fortune-hunting trip...

But their scenes back in a small airstrip town that includes an attempted assassination, pulpy tavern dialogue and stealing a plane puts some terrific action into an otherwise bland adventure...

If only they stayed where they started, and not reached the destination so soon, and for so long...

Unlike the inspired RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, there are not enough layers/levels here.

Secret of the Incas

Heston plays a tough, cynical treasure hunter filling in as a tourist guide. He is though keen to find a legendary Incan treasure and when an opportunity for a private plane to take him and his latest girl to Machu Picchu to seek this out he is not going to miss the opportunity.

You only have to look at Heston to see how this influenced Indiana Jones and there are also quite a few incidents picked up by Spielberg later. This is where the similarities end as the action relating to treasure hunting is pretty thin and for most of the film, it's just about the planning, travelling and avoiding the baddies. Heston is a real star though and carries this fun but unremarkable adventure with ease - frankly everyone else is neither here or there.

Nice to see singing legend Imma Sumac doing her amazing thing.

Point of interest - what exactly is Thomas Mitchell doing at the snooker table near the start of the film?

Strictly for rainy saturdays!

There isnt any excitement, so this one is ideal for one of those weekends when its raining and youre thoroughly bored. there isnt anyone really likeable until we end up in the Peruvian village and meet a couple the locals and a couple of chaps involved in digging up history. the singer is very different-grab your remote for the mute button may well come in handy! Much more exciting when growing up, having grown up (really!) this is definately an "off switch job"!

Never really gets going

'Secret of the Incas' never really gets going, for me.

I adore that it was filmed on location in Peru, it gives us some beautiful shots of the South American country; most notably of Machu Picchu. That's where the greatness ends though. It isn't a poor film by any means, but nothing else springs to mind in a positive manner about it.

The cast are solid if a little mundane. Charlton Heston does a fine job in the lead role as Harry, with Thomas Mitchell supporting competently. The plot execution is what lets this down in my opinion, as it's an attractive premise but never feels like the majestic adventure that it should be.

Call Me Harry...

This starts promisingly as a rather cynical drama with a lean, mean young Charlton Heston as a bad boy that women are drawn to (including a mature but still succulent Glenda Farrell in Technicolor) despite being a jerk.

Unfortunately when the action relocates to an archeological dig presided over by Robert Young (in his final big screen role), local colour takes over - including a couple of songs by Yma Sumac - and it all gets very talky.

Charlton Heston

Spielberg has said this was a huge influence on Indiana Jones. Thankfully, Spielberg and Lucas took away the pure disreputability, the indefensible selfishness, the rampant sexism, and utter dullness before making their version. Anti-heroes are fine, but don't force an unearned redemption in the last five minutes. Still, I always love a good Thomas Mitchell turn, and he's doing some nicely sleezy work here.

Dashing and outrageous adventurers in Peru being taught a lesson

Charlton Heston as a young macho adventurer in Peru thinking only of money is outrageously insolent all the way, but as he gets going on his final adventure with a Romanian refugee escaping through the jungles of Peru to Macchu Picchu there is an interesting development in a most unpredictable direction. Thomas Mitchell is the frustrated old partner who wants his share of the loot at any price and has to ultimately pay for it, while Robert Young as a decent and orderly archaeologist finds himself without any reward for all his honesty. But the vital part of the acting is from totally different persons.

The miraculous turn of the film is from the main characters leading the action to the taking over of the film by the Peruvians, local Indians, headed by the almost unearthly character of Yuma Sumac, singing the old Inca to life with the most unique voice in the world, embracing four octaves. Just her singing is the highlight of the film, she introduces it with her song, and she gives two further performances, all for the god of the Incas. There are many Indians, all fantastically dressed in local costumes, which makes this film as unique as Yuma Sumac. Because of the unexpected turn of events Charlton Heston is developed into a different character, and that change is psychologically very interesting and provides an explanation and entry to his later more demanding characters. The film is a wonder, and you will never forget it.

Only for Diehard Inca Film Lovers

I like the Incas and Machu Picchu; but this film is not even as good as the Donald Duck version that I once read in Comics and Stories. It just lies there dead in the water. A sleazy version of Indiana Jones by the not-so-great actor, Charlton Heston, who plays the aptly named Harry Steel, does not help. Nor does the casting of a heavy, Tomas Mitchell, as a fat old rival for a rare Inca treasure. Robert Young is ok, as is the B actress female lead. The photography is good, but the FOUR musical solos by the Inca singer (one would have been MORE than enough) led me have several gin and tonics to get through the film. Watch it ONLY if you love Inca stories, and get ready Fast Forward all the musical numbers by the Inca singer.

Part Travelogue, Part Colonial Nostalgia

As another review noted, it's kitsch and camp. There's also appeal in seeing Heston in an early role and having as a villain the absent minded uncle from It's a Wonderful Life. TV's Marcus Welby also shows up, equally stiff playing a lonely archaeologist. There's also a white Australian in really bad tanning makeup playing an Indian named Pachacutik.

The biggest appeal for me and many others is its glimpse of Peruvian Indians. IOW, whenever Heston and the other white actors step aside and let us see a bit of the real Peru. Large parts of the film show Quechua Indians, esp three great musical numbers from the legendary Yma Sumac.

Other parts are pretty revealing of the colonial mentality of the times, incredibly ignorant parts that make anyone who knows anything about Peru laugh out loud: Pachacutik as an Indian name? That's like an Italian calling himself Tiberius.Machu Pichu as a "lost" city in 1954? When it already had thousands of visitors a day.A hokey prophecy that "Incan" Indians have been waiting on? That's just as fake as the 2012 hoax.Calling them "Incan" Indians is like calling Italians "Caesars." That's the title of emperors.And also, Heston's Spanish is incredibly bad. His pronunciation is so impossible to understand it becomes a dialect unknown in Heaven or Earth.

So whenever someone white speaks in the film, don't rely on it as truth about Peru or its Natives. The other scenes, yes, definitely worth seeing.

"The first original Indiana Jones movie"

I will write a little more about this, because it's a bit special, at least for me, being myself born beyond the iron curtain, just like the main female character of this film. I saw Charlton Heston in many movies that I liked very much: "Soylent Green", "Planet of the Apes", "El Cid", "Ben-Hur", "The Big Country", "Touch of Evil", "The Wreck of the Mary Deare", "Major Dundee", "Agony and the Ecstasy", "Khartoum", "The Omega Man", "Antony and Cleopatra", "The Three Musketeers", "Airport 1975", "The Four Musketeers: Milady's Revenge", "Earthquake", "The Awakening", "Mother Lode", "Tombstone", "True Lies". All big, great films, in which he usually has the lead role. All films which delighted my childhood and adolescence beyond the iron curtain, in the same country as the character Elena Antonescu from this film. A character played by the beautiful French Nicole Maurey, whom I have seen also in "Sale temps pour les mouches", "Killer Spy", "The Scapegoat" and "Diary of a Country Priest". She is very convincing here, playing a character similar to me in real life, being also born in the same country, Romania. I've seen Thomas Mitchell in many famous and very good movies, he's a very good actor, "Gone with the Wind", "Tales of Manhattan", "It's a Wonderful Life", "High Noon", "Pocketful of Miracles". Yma Sumac, probably the greatest voice of all time, in her first role as an actress, also singing and being very funny. Leon Askin, who I saw in "Road to Bali", "The Terror of Doctor Mabuse" and "Airplane II: The Sequel", very good in the role of the Romanian officer of Securitate Anton Marcu. The story is very simple and very well accomplished by Jerry Hopper.

Adventure movie filled with thrills , emotion , enjoyable performances and marvelous outdoors

This exciting picture deals with a ruthless adventurer called Harry Steele (Charlton Heston) wearing brown leather jacket, fedora, tan pants, over-the-shoulder bag, and wielding revolver and is hunting a priceless Inca jewel . As he searchers for hidden treasure in the Peruvian jungles . He is accompanied by a gorgeous drifter named Elena Antonescu (Nicole Maurey), a refugee fleeing from communists . She can help him get a plane and he can help her escape Peru for the relative safety of Mexico ; as she more than matches him as the feisty heroine who follows him through mountains , rivers , cliffs and all kind dangers .

Jungle thriller plenty of tremendous adventures , action , a love story , and wonderful scenarios . This is a 1950-style high adventure and driven along with enormous panaché , including enjoyable screenplay from Sydney Bohen and Ronald MacDougall . Hopper direction is uninspired , the Pine-Thomas unit in Paramount gave him his first chance at filmmaking , but his movies for them , though attractively set , all-action subjects such as this ¨The secret of Incas ¨and ¨Hurricane Smith¨ were not specially distinguished . Charlton Heston is pretty good as a rough adventurer ; here is a rugged as well as rogue young transformed into a intrepid man of action at the drop of his spectacles . Heston had played for director Hopper , two passable films : the historical Western ¨Pony Express¨ and ¨The private war of Major Benson¨ , a comedy about the relationship between a martinet commander and a very small cadet . Charlton Heston gets nice support cast from veteran Hollywood characters such as Thomas Mitchell , Glenda Farrell , Michael Pate , Leon Askin and Robert Young , in fact it was the final theatrical film of this veteran actor , who thereafter moved exclusively into television, where he enjoyed a highly successful career for over 30 years . The movie is often cited as a direct inspiration for the Indiana Jones franchise of films, with many of the scenes in Secret of the Incas bearing a striking resemblance in tone and structure to scenes in Raiders of the Lost Ark . Adequate special effects by the veteran John P.Fulton and and colorful cinematography by Lionel Lindon, though is urgent a perfect remastering . Being set on location in Cuzco , Peruvian jungles and Machu Pichu , Peru . Evocative Original Music by David Buttolph , including strange as well as hypnotic songs sung by Yma Sumac as Kori-Tica ,she is billed third on the posters .

The motion picture produced by Mel Epstein was professionally directed by Jerry Hopper , but with no enthusiasm . Hopper firstly worked for Paramount , them he crossed to Universal and immediately proved himself on more intimate subjects , particularly those with veins of comedy or sentiment . Hopper directed all kind of genres such as Western : Madron , Pony Express , The Bull of the West ; gritty Thriller : Naked alibi , The Atomic City , The square jungle ; Comedy : The private war of Major Benson ; Adventures : Alaska seas , The Sharkfighters , and The Missouri traveler, it was the best of Hopper's later movies before he became entrenched in television . As Jerry Hooper also filmed a great quantity of TV episodes such as Voyage to the bottom of the sea , The fugitive , Perry Mason , Shenandoah , Adams family , Caravan and Gunsmoke .

Harry "Man Of" Steele: He's not for budging!

Secret of the Incas is directed by Jerry Hopper and written by Sydney Boehm and Ranald MacDougall. It stars Charlton Heston, Nicole Maurey, Thomas Mitchell, Robert Young and Glenda Farrell. Music is by David Buttolph and cinematography by Lionel Lindon.

Harry Steele (Heston) is an adventurer searching for a hidden piece of Incan treasure in the Peruvian lands. But others are interested in the item as well, for differing reasons...

I have to wonder if I have just watched a different version to some other on line reviewers? I have seen quotes attributed to Secret of the Incas that range from rip-roaring action to ebullient adventure, odd, then, that it really is neither of those things. Oh it's fun enough, bolstered by a rugged Heston and a shifty Mitchell, but it's hardly action orientated. In fact it doesn't gather pace until the last twenty minutes. The dialogue is often twee, the characterisations atypical of the genre, while a shift in attitudes for our hero is sadly unsurprising. There's no bad performances, mind, just that what they are given to work with is bordering on the mundane.

Where the pic scores highly is with its stunning Peruvian vistas, awash with Technicolour, it's high end photography from Lindon (Oscar winner for Around the World in Eighty Days). Also of note is Hopper's good use of extras, hundreds of them, he knows how to craft a good scene and keeps the pic interesting when the flaccid screenplay threatens to sink the interest value without trace. Correctly cited as one of the biggest influences on Indiana Jones (specifically Raiders of the Lost Ark), anyone who has seen both films will know "Incas" influence is great. They will also know why "Raiders" is so beloved by the action/adventure film fan, it's because it "IS" an action/adventure film of some substance. Sadly "Incas", as watchable as it is, is pretty run-of-the- mill stuff that finds decent enough characters struggling to find any action or indeed, any adventure. 6/10

"Call Me Harry"

The main reason to watch Secret Of The Incas is for a glimpse at Peruvian Indian culture, something like it was before Pizarro and the Spaniards got there. The location cinematography in the Peruvian Andes is stunning as well as the sequences depicting the remnants of the Incas. Otherwise though Secret Of The Incas is a potboiler adventure flick set in an unusual vacation.

For a guy who played such noble heroes in film, Charlton Heston plays one of the more disreputable roles in his career as Harry Steele who urges all to call him Harry. He's an American stranded in a really backwater part of Peru and living off the tourists providing all kinds of services. When we first meet him he's getting paid from Marion Ross for some really special interest. Later on the married Glenda Farrell attracts his attention, but he discards her for Nicole Maurey, a refugee from behind the Iron Curtain that the Romanians want back although the film never really explains why. So much so that their consul Leon Askin is giving it his personal attention though I think his interests are really personal as are Heston's.

But Askin does have a private plane and Heston knows how to fly so he and Maurey take off for an even more remote part of Peru where they believe an Inca treasure is buried. It's a yellow sunburst made of gold and expensive jewels. Like the Maltese Falcon worth the hunt. But a dig organized by archaeologist Robert Young is in the way. And an even bigger low life than Heston shows up and declares his interest in the treasure and that's Thomas Mitchell.

The color cinematography also does justice to Nicole Maurey's beauty as well as the Peruvian landscape. Thomas Mitchell creates an interesting portrait of an aging crook, living by his wits in a racket he should have gotten out of a long time ago. But his way of living is the only thing he knows. Heston's motivations for turning good guy are not really ringing true, though he doesn't turn quite so good. I will say some adult themes are explored and hinted at here that would not have passed Code muster five years earlier.

Paramount lifted this one a bit from its true origins by location cinematography and some A list players in the cast. But Secret Of The Incas is really just your average potboiler adventure story.

Great adventure and great Yma Sumac

This film has been called the predecessor of "Indiana Jones" and indeed, Charleton Heston has a very similar costume. The film holds up rather well, and it is uplifted by the glorious singing of Yma Sumac. Miss Sumac, who I will agree is an acquired taste, sings several amazing numbers in the course of the film, as well as singing over the opening and closing credits. The film also has some surprising sexual innuendo between Mr. Heston and Glenda Farrell. The Technicolor is good and there is good native atmosphere (the film was partly filmed on location). All in all, this is an interesting film with good 50's atmosphere and some amazing music.

A Rip-Roaring Adventure.

"Secret of the Incas" (1954) is, with out a doubt, a truly rip-roaring adventure movie. It shares uncanny resemblance too with "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and other Indiana Jones films. But I am not going to go into this with any depth, as another person, James Byrne, knows a lot more about it than I do. Having not seen it for along time, I can only remember the more memorable moments, such as: Harry Steele (Charlton Heston) nearly being killed by a sniper, who was under the orders of Ed Morgan (Thomas Mitchell), flying Nicole Maurey (Elena Antonescu) over to Machu Picchu, in Peru, and the exciting climax. For those of you who like fast moving adventure movies, with great performances, this is for you. It's such a shame that it has not come out on DVD yet.

High kitsch

Charlton Heston is Harry Steele, an American adventurer seeking a fabulous Inca sunburst that has been lost for centuries in mysterious Machu Picchu, a Lost City in the Andes of Peru. Thomas Mitchell is Ed Morgan, a slovenly dreamer and schemer who is also after the Inca gold. Goody-goody archaeologist Robert Young and Romanian refugee Nicole Maurey add a bit of spice to the proceedings. "Secret of the Incas" is a fine example of a 1950's adventure film, with some quite astounding location footage of Machu Picchu and Cuzco. The movies plot is pretty standard fare, but the scenery, acting , set designs are first rate. Heston steals the show, and everything else he can lay his hands on in the movie. One of the highlights is Peruvian singer Yma Sumac, who will burst your ear drums in a pantomime side-show performance of high energy and even higher kitsch. Yma Sumac makes Carmen Miranda look sedate and boring. They don't make 'em like this anymore, and if you want to unearth the origins of Indiana Jones, don't miss "Secret of the Incas".

disappointing travel movie

This is the most disappointing Heston film I've seen, redeemed only by the scenery and Yma Sumac's singing. The sound on my recording wasn't great and I wasn't clear why Elena Antonescu was so important a refugee. She may have arrived in Peru with very little money but she was very well dressed, even after she had changed into clothing more suitable for her flight; thus she joined the long list of women able to retain their glamour despite arduous conditions. At least we were spared the cliché of her being frightened by wild life though Heston did get to spy on her as she bathed (not in a jungle pool, but indoors). Heston's character is far from likable and there was no-one much else to empathise with; Robert Young's archaeologist was very likable until he proposed marriage to Elena. (Sad old man.) Another commentator has noted how the gold starburst seems very lightweight, and early on in the film I noted a reference to it weighing 30 pounds, which makes the elderly Mitchell's flight even more athletic. That was just about the only action in the film.

SECRET OF THE INCAS (Jerry Hopper, 1954) **

Despite the intriguing title, this is a tedious potboiler with very little to commend it save the evocative Peruvian locations. A stiff, pre-stardom Charlton Heston is an arrogant opportunist whose dress code might well have inspired Indiana Jones but his adventures, unfortunately for the viewer, are nowhere near as exciting. Robert Young (unconvinging as a belatedly introduced archaeologist), Thomas Mitchell (as Heston's double-crossing partner) and Michael Pate (ridiculously decked out in a Rumpelstiltskin hat as the Inca High Priest or something) are on hand to lend the film some much needed support but the female cast is very weak: Nicole Maurey tries too hard as the damsel-in-distress heroine, Glenda Farrell is wasted as an American tourist with an eye on Heston, and Peruvian singer Yma Sumac almost sinks the film with her embarrassing over-the-top chanting!

Heart and spirit...

It is easy to poke fun at this film, since it has its fair share of silliness, but those who do so completely miss the point - it is an original, and its heart and spirit are in the right place. The more I see it the more I am convinced that Heston was Spielberg's original inspiration for Indiana Jones. Also, the geographical settings and atmosphere are wonderful and of a type that is never seen today. There is certainly no "political correctness" or moralizing about Peruvian poverty, of the sort that would no doubt be rammed down our throats should a remake ever be attempted today. It's just a straightforward adventure story in an unusual setting. I hadn't heard of Yma Sumac before I saw this, but I'm sure she's won legions of admirers from cinema audiences who've seen this film.

This is what film making used to be like fifty years ago. In many ways, it was better then than now. If you haven't seen this film, make sure you catch it the next time it's on TV.