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 Plunder of the Sun

Plunder of the Sun

Plunder of the Sun (1953) finds Glenn Ford as a down-on-his-luck insurance adjuster hired to smuggle a small package out of Cuba. Quickly, however, he finds himself mixed up with a disparate group of people searching for treasure among the Aztec ruins of Mexico, and things lead to murder.

Based on a 1949 novel by David Dodge which was actually set among the Incan ruins of Peru, the screenplay was developed by producers John Wayne and Robert Fellows under their Wayne-Fellows partnership. Filming took place in late 1952 on location in Oaxaca, Mexico, and at a studio in Mexico City, and the picture was released in the summer of 1953 by Warner Brothers.

Co-starring with Ford were Diana Lynn and Patricia Medina, both of whom were nearing the end of their feature film careers. Diana Lynn did another Wayne-Fellows production after this one - Track of the Cat (1954), opposite Robert Mitchum, which was also the last of seven films produced by Wayne-Fellows before they dissolved their partnership and Wayne formed his own company, Batjac Productions. Lynn had found notable success as a teenage actress, in movies like The Major and the Minor (1942) and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944), but in her later films she had less luck with her roles, increasingly working in television and the theater which was more rewarding. She appeared in only five features after Plunder of the Sun.

Patricia Medina had more movies in front of her, but by 1958 she was also firmly entrenched in television. In 1960 she married Joseph Cotten, and they were still married when he died in 1994. Recalling Plunder of the Sun in her memoir Laid Back in Hollywood, Medina wrote, "Glenn [Ford] was not easy to work with, not like Alan Ladd and James Mason and Guy [Madison]. I think he had some personal problem. I learned he had been in love with Rita Hayworth and had never got over her. Well, for that, I can't blame him. Much later, I was invited for dinner at Glenn's house and as he greeted me he said, 'Ah, my favorite leading lady.' Now, I certainly didn't get the feeling that he was being sarcastic, so I guess he's only friendly off the set."

Glenn Ford had recently starred in The Big Heat (1953), one of his finest films. He was averaging three pictures a year at this point, some classic and some forgettable, but Blackboard Jungle (1955) and 3:10 to Yuma (1957) were right around the corner. Plunder director John Farrow, who was husband to Maureen O'Sullivan and father of Mia Farrow, had by this time built a solid career as a director of action and film noir. Among his credits were The Big Clock (1948), Where Danger Lives (1950), His Kind of Woman (1951), and the John Wayne western Hondo (1953) which was filmed shortly after Plunder of the Sun.

Producer: Robert Fellows, John Wayne
Director: John Farrow
Screenplay: David Dodge, Jonathan Latimer
Cinematography: Jack Draper
Film Editing: Harry Marker
Art Direction: Alfred Ybarra
Music: Antonio Diaz Conde, Enrique Fabregat, Marcos Jimenez, Jose Sabre Marroquin
Cast: Glenn Ford (Al Colby), Diana Lynn (Julie Barnes), Patricia Medina (Anna Luz), Francis L. Sullivan (Thomas Berrien), Sean McClory (Jefferson), Eduardo Noriega (Raul Cornejo).

by Jeremy Arnold



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