Secret of the Incas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Secret of the Incas
SecretOfTheIncasPoster.jpg
Movie poster
Directed by Jerry Hopper
Produced by Mel Epstein
executive
Hal B. Wallis
Written by Sydney Boehm
Ranald MacDougall
Based on story by Boehm
Starring Charlton Heston
Robert Young
Nicole Maurey
Thomas Mitchell
Music by David Buttolph
Cinematography Lionel Lindon
Irma Roberts
Edited by Eda Warren
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • June 6, 1954 (1954-06-06)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Secret of the Incas is a 1954 adventure film starring Charlton Heston as adventurer Harry Steele, on the trail of an ancient Incan artifact. Shot on location at Machu Picchu in Peru, the film is often credited as the inspiration for Raiders of the Lost Ark. The supporting cast features Robert Young, Nicole Maurey and Thomas Mitchell, as well as a rare film appearance by Peruvian singer Yma Sumac.

Plot[edit]

American adventurer Harry Steele (Charlton Heston) earns a living as a tourist guide in Cusco, Peru but plans to make his fortune by finding the Sunburst, an Inca treasure. He possesses an ancient carved stone which gives the location of the Sunburst but has no means to travel there. He is also menaced by his dubious associate Ed Morgan (Thomas Mitchell) who wants the treasure for himself and tries to have Harry killed.

When Romanian defector Elena Antonescu (Nicole Maurey) arrives, Harry apparently agrees to help her travel to Mexico so she can then get to America, but in reality he uses her situation to his own advantage. Together with Elena, he steals a plane used by a Romanian official who is attempting to get Elena to return and uses it to fly to Machu Picchu.

There he discovers an archaeological expedition headed by Dr Stanley Moorehead (Robert Young) is preparing to enter the tomb where the Sunburst is said to be located. Moorehead becomes infatuated with Elena, while Morgan arrives and coerces Harry into helping him find the treasure. While Morgan is asleep, Harry slips away and enters the tomb, locating the Sunburst hidden inside a hollow pillar.

Morgan then appears and grabs the Sunburst at gunpoint before shooting his way out of the temple while being pursued by Harry and a group of locals. Trapping Morgan on a cliff edge, Harry gets the Sunburst back while Morgan falls to his death. Rather than take it for himself, he gives the Sunburst back to the local Indians who believe it must be returned to the temple. Harry and Elena then depart, apparently for Ecuador.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film was originally known as Legend of the Incas. Paramount announced it as part of their 1953 slate in July 1952.[1] Adventure films set outside America were popular in Hollywood at the time; producer Mel Epstein says that Paramount decided to make this film mostly because there had not been one shot in Peru before.[2]

Wendell Corey was originally announced as star.[3] In July 1953 Paramount took over Hal Wallis' contract with Charlton Heston and announced he would make the film after he finished The Naked Jungle.[4]

Secret of the Incas was filmed on location in Peru at Cuzco and Machu Picchu, the first time that a major Hollywood studio filmed at this archeological site. A sixteen person unit including Heston, producer Mel Epstein and director Jerry Hopper spent a month filming footage in Peru in 1953.[5]

Five hundred indigenous people were used as extras in the film.[5][6]

The film also featured the Peruvian singer Yma Sumac as Kori-Tica. [7]

The female lead was to have been played by Viveca Lindfors. However after the positive response to Nicole Maurey's performance in Little Boy Lost Paramount gave her the role.[8] Thomas Mitchell was signed to play the villain.[9]

Studio filming started in October 1953.[10] Shortly beforehand, Wendell Corey dropped out of the film.[11] He was replaced by Robert Young.[12] Filming ended 22 November.[13]

The film caused a surge in tourism to Peru in 1954.

Influence on Raiders of the Lost Ark[edit]

Charlton Heston and Nicole Maurey

The film is often cited by film buffs 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. Throughout Secret of the Incas, the main character, Harry Steele, can be seen wearing the "Indiana Jones" outfit: brown leather jacket, fedora, tan pants, an over-the-shoulder bag, and revolver.[14] The character also sometimes wears a light beard, unusual for films of its time, and there is a tomb scene involving a revelatory shaft of light similar to the "Map Room" sequence in Raiders.

Raiders' costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis noted that the inspiration for Indiana's costume was Charlton Heston's Harry Steele in Secret of the Incas: "We did watch this film together as a crew several times, and I always thought it strange that the filmmakers did not credit it later as the inspiration for the series" and quipped that the film is "almost a shot for shot Raiders of the Lost Ark."[15]

Other media[edit]

On December 14, 1954, Charlton Heston and Nicole Maurey reprised their roles in a Lux Radio Theater version of Secret of the Incas.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paramount to produce 25 films in 1953. (1952, Jul 30). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/166376500?accountid=13902
  2. ^ By Richard, D. M. (1953, Dec 08). Filming inca story in peru. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/508902654?accountid=13902
  3. ^ By THOMAS M PRYORSpecial to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. (1953, Jun 05). 4 STARS GET ROLES IN NEW METRO FILM. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/112818821?accountid=13902
  4. ^ By THOMAS M PRYORSpecial to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. (1953, Jul 03). MARCH TO APPEAR IN BIG METRO FILM. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/112782294?accountid=13902
  5. ^ a b By WILLIAM, H. B.,Jr. (1953, Jul 12). HOLLYWOOD DIGEST. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/112572771?accountid=13902
  6. ^ a b Production Notes - Secret Of The Incas @ TCM Database Archived June 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ By THOMAS M PRYORSpecial to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. (1953, Aug 07). METRO TO STRESS BIG-BUDGET FILMS. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/112623629?accountid=13902
  8. ^ By THOMAS M PRYORSpecial to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. (1953, Sep 25). NICOLE MAUREY SET TO STAR IN MOVIE. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/112763659?accountid=13902
  9. ^ By THOMAS M PRYORSpecial to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. (1953, Oct 17). GARY COOPER TAKES 'VERA CRUZ' ROLE. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/112752229?accountid=13902
  10. ^ Schallert, E. (1953, Aug 04). Mason again to star for mankiewicz; model scripts for rossellini. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/166529265?accountid=13902
  11. ^ By THOMAS M PRYORSpecial to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. (1953, Oct 23). WARNERS ADOPTS FOX FILM PROCESS. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/112744637?accountid=13902
  12. ^ Schallert, E. (1953, Oct 26). Drama. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/166512293?accountid=13902
  13. ^ By THOMAS M PRYORSpecial to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. (1953, Nov 21). COLUMBIA MUSICAL READY FOR CAMERA. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/112739405?accountid=13902
  14. ^ Review @ TheRaider.Net Archived August 24, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ Mike French & Gilles Verschuere (September 14, 2005). "Debora Nadoolman interview". TheRaider.net. Archived from the original on March 27, 2014. Retrieved April 7, 2008. 

External links[edit]