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The Mexican countryside is the real star of this suspense thriller from Western veteran George Sherman. Sterling Hayden stars as an American pilot forced to help a crew of gold thieves when they kidnap his son. Because he's piloting the getaway plane, the police are after him as well as the bandits. When gunfire causes a fuel leak, the crew has to parachute into the jungle, where Hayden still has to help them reach the Pacific within ten days or his son will be killed. Sherman created his own production company to pick up the rights to Laurence E. Mascott's script. Originally, the story had been slated for a 1955 production in Peru with Gordon MacRae starring in glorious Technicolor. By the time Sherman came on board, the budget had been downgraded, so the film had to be shot in black and white and in Mexico. That's hardly a problem, though, with Alex Phillips' crisp photography showcasing the local sights. Hayden only came on board because he needed the money for child-support payments and couldn't work in the states without being picked up for tax evasion. He wouldn't make another feature for six years, when he came back as General Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove (1964).
By Frank Miller