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Secret of the Incas
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Author:  James Byrne [ Tue May 23, 2017 9:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Secret of the Incas

Welcome back Judah!
Yes, Nicole Maurey had a great sense of humour ... until you slip in a naughty word in an anecdote. I asked her how she got on with Rex Harrison, who was notorious for being a grouchy so-and-so with co-stars and everybody else. I was surprised when she told me that Rex was a gentleman and courteous to her. I then related the now famous story of Harrison when he was appearing at Drury Lane Theare, London, in MY FAIR LADY in 1957.

Stanley Holloway played the dustman and Harrison was Henry Higgins. One night after a performance of the show, Holloway and Harrison left by the stage door. It was late, cold and pouring with rain and there was an old woman standing alone outside the door. When she saw Harrison, she asked him for his autograph. He told her to “Sod off” and she was so enraged at this that she rolled up her program and hit Harrison with it. Holloway congratulated him on not only making theatre history but for it being the first time in world history that “the fan has hit the shit.”

Not only did Nicole not even raise a smile, but she lifted her eyebrow in a show of dissatisfaction at me uttering a naughty word like that. I felt suitably punished and quickly changed the subject.

Author:  Detective Thorn [ Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Secret of the Incas

Well, I enjoyed reading that, James.

Author:  James Byrne [ Fri Jun 02, 2017 1:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Secret of the Incas

Thanks Thorn.

Although Nicole Maurey was such a classy lady that she didn't respond to naughty words with a smile, she actually bust a gut laughing when I had to explain to her that the only nice people I had encountered up to then were a group of Parisian prostitutes. My interview with Nicole secret-of-the-incas-t26-770.html had to be severely cropped because of space limitations, but at the very end of it is a reference to when I met some "working girls" as I walked around Paris on my way to meet Nicole.

By the time I arrived in Paris, I had been seated on a train for four hours and needed to stretch my legs before checking in at my hotel. I decided to walk around that beautiful city for a couple of hours before going to my reserved hotel. Unfortunately, I got lost, and the citizens of Paris were none to keen on giving me directions. After being insulted and laughed at for not being able to speak French by at least a dozen Parisians I began to panic that I would never get to my hotel for an evening meal and "freshen up" after the journey. I stumbled, quite by accident, upon a place I recognized from photos, the famous Moulin Rouge, and so took a few photos of it. Proceeding on my quest, I was suddenly approached by an exceedingly attractive young lady who was obviously looking for "business." I tried explaining to her that, alluring as she was, that I urgently needed directions to my hotel and that I was in a hurry. She literally dragged me, and I'm not kidding, to her place of work where I was immediately set upon by three extremely beautiful young ladies. One of them began frantically unbuttoning my shirt, and I began panicking that I was going to be landed with a huge bill, all because I had set foot in the place. I again told them all, "I'm here to get directions to my hotel, it's near the Eiffel Tower, and I'm in a terrible hurry, ladies."

After saying that, one of the beauties dragged me into a little booth, pulled off her top and bra, and purred, "Do you not want these?". Being an English gentleman, I explained that she had a most impressive French chest I had ever encountered, and, just at that moment, the senior Madame presented me with a map and my directions to the hotel. I bade the young ladies farewell, and exiting the establishment, I thought to myself that I'd already had an eyeful (or should I spell that Eiffel) and hadn't even arrived at the Tower!

Nicole screamed laughing at that little story and then related it, in French, to her best friend, sitting next to us at the table. She loved it as well ... so it certainly proves that, although she was a lady who despised swear words, Nicole wasn't a total prude.

Author:  James Byrne [ Wed Jun 07, 2017 12:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Secret of the Incas

I have just ordered this book from Amazon. The hero sounds a bit like Harry Steele, and he's even called Jim Hiram (obvious reference to Machu Picchu "discoverer" Hiram Bingham!

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=hrE ... ru&f=false

SECRET OF THE INCAS gets a mention, too, under the name of MANCO'S TREASURE.

Here's a brief extract from the book, entitled "Return To The Corner of The Dead," by Henry May.

There was a great B-grade movie starring Charlton Heston playing a gigolo mercenary guide who romances the wife of an old codger who has trouble breathing right after landing in Cuzco. It was set in the Forties and the Cuzco airport was a dirt strip though by the Sixties they'd built a jetport in the old Inca capital. It wasn't Ben-Hur but it was the only Hollywood flick he'd seen set in Peru. It was called something like Manco's Treasure and Jim had gone to a lot of trouble to get a video of the film and had a plan to play it at a crazy party he was going to have some day when he made it big and could fly his friends in like Frank did.

Here's the synopsis of the book, in case you might be interested in purchasing it.

This is a story of love and action drawn on a backdrop of revolutionary violence. The novel is set in Peru in 1993 when the country is recovering from a long, brutal, still simmering civil war. The protagonist, Jim Hiram, has returned to Peru at the request of an old friend, a collector of pre-Columbian antiquities, who has a job for him locating a special artifact. Jim had worked as a financial planner in Lima until 1985 when he left after the Sendero Luminoso guerrilla movement brought the war to the capital from its sierra stronghold of Ayacucho, the Corner of The Dead'. He expects his return to be a short-term venture, but he is drawn into a spiraling series of complications and intrigues. He is also drawn into love. Against the dark wine red canvas, the somber shade of dried blood, is set the bright fuchsia of renewing love. Through the maze of a society reeling on the edge of disintegration, Jim makes his way by his wit and his words. As another character observes, he is a smooth liar', but there are no lies when it comes to love and its regenerative power for him.

Henry May really has a thing for SECRET OF THE INCAS (I can talk!), for he references the movie in another book, as well,"Riders on the Niño Storms," but he calls himself L. H. May in this book.
By L. H. May

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=1HT ... co&f=false

Author:  James Byrne [ Sat Jun 17, 2017 1:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Secret of the Incas

This blogger reckons that the reason SECRET OF THE INCAS hasn't had a dvd release in America is because "It isn't very good!"

http://www.classicfilmfreak.com/2017/06/08/secret-incas-1954-charlton-heston/


Secret of the Incas (1954) with Charlton Heston

 June 8, 2017

1954 Secret of the Incas

Marrying Doc is my one chance … Don’t kiss it away for me, Harry … please … please … please …

Long considered almost a lost film as it was so hard to find, 1954’s Secret of the Incas presents a mixed bag. For many years there were unfounded rumors that Steven Spielberg had blocked any release of the picture on DVD or other means, given that supposedly the Raiders of the Lost Ark series was inspired directly from it.

Since then the film has become slightly more available, though it’s still not anything you can grab from amazon. Though I’ve had a copy for quite a while, I’ve never had the inclination to watch it. Well that’s changed and along with it has come an epiphany on why the picture isn’t everywhere you may like it to be. Frankly, it isn’t that good.

It’s clear that there are some similarities between the two pictures, which have been acknowledged by some of the folks who worked on Raiders. Charlton Heston as the protagonist Harry Steele in Secret of the Incas is clearly the physical inspiration for Indiana Jones as he’s complete with fedora, leather bomber jacket and shoulder bag. Outside of this and one good scene towards the end which intimately mirrors the great map room scene in Raiders where Harrison Ford bends light to locate the resting place of the Ark, the similarities are few.

So that aside, what’s this Incan story? As mentioned, Charlton Heston is the lead as Harry Steele, a money driven artifact thief and borderline shyster. Most of the time he loiters at the airport in Cusco, Peru waiting for incoming flights. He meets these posing as a tour guide to innocent tourists, goading them to hire him to show them the local museum. It’s clear really early on that he’ll do most anything for a buck and that his first and second priorities are Harry Steele, in that order.

One evening he comes across Ed Morgan (Thomas Mitchell) in the hotel bar shooting pool. Ed’s even further removed from the law than Harry, but his better days are behind him as age and drinking have caught up with him. (As an aside, why must Thomas Mitchell always play a drunk?) Ed wants to steal a gold and bejeweled Sunburst which was stolen from the Incas generations ago. Harry declines to work with Ed on locating and stealing the relic, but decides to find it for himself.

During on of his tours, Harry learns the location of the Sunburst, but it’s too far to travel with his limited resources. About the same time Elena (Nicole Maurey) comes to Cusco, looking to escape her pursuers and flee to the United States. Though it’s never explained why she is being chased, Harry realized that the gent who is chasing has a plane, so after meeting her and duping her just a bit they steal the plane and head to Machu Picchu to find the Sunburst.

Once at Machu Picchu, they find an archaeological dig underway being led by Stanley Moorehead (Robert Young in his last screen role). It’s here that things finally pick up a bit of speed, though it comes at a price.

That price, hard to say, is the singing of Yma Sumac, known for her five octave singing range. Presented onscreen as Peruvian folk music, her performances (and there are several here) are not for the faint of heart. Whether they are authentic or not, they’re fluff at best and a detraction from the picture (which is saying something) at worst. That said, some few find these sections among the best of the film.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of Secret of the Incas is that for the bulk of the picture things seem to happen in slow motion. The only excitement and action happen well after the dynamic duo of Elena and Harry get to the dig site. Directed by Jerry Hopper, who left pictures in 1956 for the small screen, there’s not much life on film. The cast, which has a few stars, seem lost and lacklustre in what could be better roles. Especially early on, there’s some especially good dialogue which shows potential but is handled poorly. There’s great banter between Steele and one of his smitten female tour customers in addition to the interchange where he meets Elena at the bar:


Elena: Mr. Steele, Harry Steele?
Man at Bar: Well, does the name really matter?
Harry: Yes, because my name is Steele, and I’m bigger than you.

Later on the dialogue becomes shallow and bland, almost as if the scriptwriters themselves gave up.

The characters are flat with no development throughout. We never find out why Elena’s on the run nor why Stanley makes his sudden proposal. In the end we really don’t care perhaps. Steele, the one character who (perhaps including Mitchell’s Ed Morgan) does show potential, makes an abrupt change of character in the last scene. So is Steele really the low level con-man we met an hour or so earlier cruising the Cusco airport? Who knows.

The love story between Elena and Harry never feels like it clicks and Nicole Maurey and Charlton Heston have little chemistry, though their relationship is definitely in better shape than the almost father-daughter one she has with Robert Young.

At the end of the day, Secret of the Incas is a roughly typical picture for the day, with nothing to make it worse than that. Yes, it has some stars and a lineage which ties it vaguely to one of Hollywood’s most successful franchises, but at the end of the day it’s exceedingly typical. It’s clear a good deal of the picture was filmed on location in Peru which is definitely a rarity for the time, but the portions which were filmed on soundstages are equally obvious- just watch the grass.

While it’s clear that Harry Steele’s wardrobe inspired the later Indiana Jones, it’s hard to take the inspiration farther. Indiana is an archaeologist who says relics should be in museums, whereas Steele clearly thinks they should be sold with the proceeds going into his pockets. While Jones fights Nazi’s in two of his pictures, one imagines Steele might have been open to working for them had the price been right like Belloq did in Raiders. Then again, Steele couldn’t do that either as he isn’t an archaeologist.

Luckily with today’s technology at least you can skip the performances of Yma Sumac, so things can’t be that bad
.

Author:  Detective Thorn [ Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Secret of the Incas

James Byrne wrote:
Thanks Thorn.

Although Nicole Maurey was such a classy lady that she didn't respond to naughty words with a smile, she actually bust a gut laughing when I had to explain to her that the only nice people I had encountered up to then were a group of Parisian prostitutes. My interview with Nicole secret-of-the-incas-t26-770.html had to be severely cropped because of space limitations, but at the very end of it is a reference to when I met some "working girls" as I walked around Paris on my way to meet Nicole.

By the time I arrived in Paris, I had been seated on a train for four hours and needed to stretch my legs before checking in at my hotel. I decided to walk around that beautiful city for a couple of hours before going to my reserved hotel. Unfortunately, I got lost, and the citizens of Paris were none to keen on giving me directions. After being insulted and laughed at for not being able to speak French by at least a dozen Parisians I began to panic that I would never get to my hotel for an evening meal and "freshen up" after the journey. I stumbled, quite by accident, upon a place I recognized from photos, the famous Moulin Rouge, and so took a few photos of it. Proceeding on my quest, I was suddenly approached by an exceedingly attractive young lady who was obviously looking for "business." I tried explaining to her that, alluring as she was, that I urgently needed directions to my hotel and that I was in a hurry. She literally dragged me, and I'm not kidding, to her place of work where I was immediately set upon by three extremely beautiful young ladies. One of them began frantically unbuttoning my shirt, and I began panicking that I was going to be landed with a huge bill, all because I had set foot in the place. I again told them all, "I'm here to get directions to my hotel, it's near the Eiffel Tower, and I'm in a terrible hurry, ladies."

After saying that, one of the beauties dragged me into a little booth, pulled off her top and bra, and purred, "Do you not want these?". Being an English gentleman, I explained that she had a most impressive French chest I had ever encountered, and, just at that moment, the senior Madame presented me with a map and my directions to the hotel. I bade the young ladies farewell, and exiting the establishment, I thought to myself that I'd already had an eyeful (or should I spell that Eiffel) and hadn't even arrived at the Tower!

Nicole screamed laughing at that little story and then related it, in French, to her best friend, sitting next to us at the table. She loved it as well ... so it certainly proves that, although she was a lady who despised swear words, Nicole wasn't a total prude.

That's quite a story :lol: No offense to any French here, but man, your encounter with the ones who wouldn't help you seems to be the norm in that country, it's no longer a stereotype.

Author:  James Byrne [ Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:22 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Secret of the Incas

When I left Paris, Thorn, .... I thought, thank God for prostitutes!

Here is a picture of Chuck and Lydia in Paris, at the premiere of 55 DAYS AT PEKING, 9 May 1963

http://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-actor- ... 04532.html

Author:  James Byrne [ Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Secret of the Incas

This IMDb review on the SECRET OF THE INCAS board has just appeared, and it is most interesting, I wonder why "gsbltd" took so long to come out with this, after all, he has been an IMDb member for over eleven years! I regard the bit about Heston being "contractually prohibited from mentioning his work on SECRET OF THE INCAS" as slightly dubious. Having said that, I wrote to Heston on many occasions, and he would always side step my questions about SOTI and never mentioned the movie once in his replies to me.

gsbltd.
IMDb member since October 2005

Secret of the Incas (1954)

A Long-Suppressed Film

24 June 2017

Several years ago I met a Production Assistant who worked on RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and was told an interesting story: that SECRET OF THE INCAS was indeed the inspiration for RAIDERS... but it went much further than that. The PA stated that George Lucas had seen SECRET years before and adapted the story into his own vision for Indiana Jones. Lucas screened SECRET -in secret- for Spielberg who immediately attached himself to the project. Here's where it gets interesting: Spielberg quickly negotiated the rights to SECRET and the contract demanded it be shelved and never released in the United States so there couldn't be any direct comparisons to RAIDERS. That's why even today you can't buy an official NTSC copy of SECRET; my region-free disc came from the U.K.! And the similarities between Heston's costume and Harrison Ford's some 30 years later were no accident, either: the PA told me that the RAIDERS creative staff were required to watch SECRET and use it as source material as much as possible to save production time/expense. And, it's clear they took a lot of notes! Others have mentioned the obvious similarities, but there's another really quick one that most people overlook: it's a little musical phrase on the SECRET soundtrack that is identical to one that John Williams used later on when he scored RAIDERS. Listen closely and it'll jump right out at you. Another coincidence? I'm not so sure! Further, Charlton Heston was famous for talking about his filmmaking experiences, yet he never directly -or publicly- mentioned SECRET... not even in his detailed autobiography, "In The Arena". He would only say that he once made a film high in the Andes where it was very difficult to breathe! Privately he allegedly had plenty to say: that he was contractually prohibited from mentioning his work on SECRET and that he seriously resented the fact that Spielberg had so thoroughly usurped his character and with little alteration turned it into the cult-status-cash-cow that Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones attained.

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