(director: Hugo Haas; screenwriter: Samuel W. Taylor; cinematographer: Edward P. Fitzgerald; editor: Robert & Harry Eisen; music: Martin Scwab; cast: Cedric Hardwicke (The Devil, prologue), John Agar (Ray Brighton), Cleo Moore (Peggy), Hugo Haas (Marko), Emmett Lynn (Foley), Bruno Ve Sota (Webb), Jan Englund (Waitress), George Keymas (Chuck); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hugo Haas; Columbia Pictures; 1954)
“The low-budget heavy-handed melodrama, in black and white, was made all the more risible by a misplaced prologue from the Devil (Sir Cedric Hardwicke).”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Hugo Haas (“Born to be Loved”/”The White Plague”) directs, produces and stars in a poor man’s version of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The second-rate thriller is written by Samuel W. Taylor. Against the advice of locals, nice guy young bachelor farmer Ray (John Agar) partners with the peculiar loner miner Marko (Hugo Haas) to locate his lost gold mine. Some 15 years ago Marko and a partner found a gold mine, but the partner suspiciously died in the snowstorm and the mine was never found again. Stopping off for supplies, Ray flirts with single mom Peggy (Cleo Moore), who has to live with a bad rep for having a child when not married. The prospectors during their summer search find the lost mine. Marko no longer wants to share it with his partner, so he schemes to get rid of him. Surprisingly (and hardly believable) the middle-aged man talks the teenager Peggy into marrying him and staying for the winter at the mine site. Marko’s incredible scheme is to catch Ray and his wife together and then justifiably kill Ray to get his share. The low-budget heavy-handed melodrama, in black and white, was made all the more risible by a misplaced prologue from the Devil (Sir Cedric Hardwicke).
REVIEWED ON 10/28/2016 GRADE: C+