Back Here again to ‘The Secret of Treasure Mountain’ 1956

This is a film that I really like. Not at all well known and a supporting picture at that running just 68 minutes

It starts out looking like a run-of-the-mill Western but changes into a very different kind of film. Raymond Burr plays a real ‘baddie’ here and is not that good but the rest of the cast do well. Another unusual aspect is that the one or two of the characters seem to turn out different to what we might first think – an apparently good man turns out to be anything but.

Lance Fuller ABOVE

Lance Fuller and Susan Cummings

The best part of the film was a sequence taken directly from Lust for Gold 1949 where the Indians attack gold prospectors in a remote valley many years before. Very much a studio set but extremely well done with production quality well ahead of the rest of the film.

Wiilliam Prince had also been in ‘Lust for Gold’ seven years earlier – and he alos has a leading role in this one

Interesting to note that the Englishman that played Valerie French’s father in the film was Reginald Sheffield who was the father of Johnny and Billy Sheffield who were boy stars in films – Johnny playing Boy in the Tarzan films and later Bomba The Jungle Boy. I well remember seeing this film as a youngster and somehow the plot has always stayed with me – and on seeing it again last evening – the main elements that had stuck in my mind were there. I had remembered a search for the Braganza crosses – small metal crosses – that if found would lead to the famous Braganza treasure in Treasure Mountain. I have looked for the name Braganza before – and not been able to find it – and thought I had this wrong but I was pretty sure I had it right – and so it proved to be the case. The production values of the film were not top class by any means but the flashback sequence to the man who had discovered the treasure 200 years earlier when the Indians attacked and killed the searchers and Braganza himself in the cave was very well done – these scenes were pinched for an earlier film Lust for Gold with Glenn Ford.

William Prince as Robert Kendall and Valerie French together ABOVE

ABOVE – Having found the Second Braganza Cross, Robert Kendall tires to work out the significance of the Snake Rock Formation

He stands inside the rock formation and gradually sees – ABOVE

The shadow of him with his arms outstretch forms the third Braganza Cross – ABOVE

Valerie French looks up at the rock ABOVE

ABOVE and BELOW Robert Kendall fights with Raymond Burr who falls to his death from the rocks down a sheer drop, hundreds of feet to the floor of the valley

Lance Fuller ABOVE – half Indian and he guards the treasure we learn as the film unfolds

They all leave the valley home at the end of the film

The story about Arizona’s Lost Dutchman Gold Mine is well known. It fires up the imagination, the various clues to its location and the lore going with it. Columbia used the material twice: the first in 1949’s Lust for Gold with an A-list production, at least for that budget-minded studio. This film is the second, but generally inferior to the first.

Nonetheless, production does a good job here with staging desert sequences, especially Robert Kendall’s clambering search for the third gold cross. It is a diverse group (Prince, Burr) has come together at a desert cabin where an old man (Sheffield), his daughter (French), an Indian girl (Cummings), and a half-breed (Fuller) live.

The film is visually entertaining with a generally unpredictable storyline that manages a few twists. The package may not equal the 1949 version, but this is a good enjoyable film with some of the exterior filming excellent.

It has taken a long time searching for this film but I now have it and have seen it again – and in point of fact, I have not just got the DVD but have acquired, some time ago, the 16 mm film itself – so I can stage a real film show – might just do that !

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