Harry Steele (Charlton Heston) is a man that fits many descriptions. Working daily as a tourist guide, Harry enjoys tricking others so he can earn money at an easy pace. When Harry isn’t working, he’s seeking the next adventure or conducting side jobs that pay well. We learn early in the film that Harry is waiting for a private plane to catch his eye so he can steal it.
Soon, Harry ends up escorting a woman and makes a huge discovery about the long-lost Inca treasure, known to many as the Sunburst. Harry has a burst of desire to not only do the job of escorting a stranger but also to find the lost treasure himself. After all, Harry recently found a key piece that is vital to finding the long-lost fortune. Can Harry find the Secret of the Incas and outwit all those who are searching for the lost treasure?
For those who adore adventure films such as Indiana Jones, Secret of the Incas is one for you. Watching this film for the first time, it’s quite funny to see how many aspects, such as Harry’s outfit and even his mannerisms, are like Indiana Jones. It’s impossible not to think about how this film has influenced many great adventure movies over time.
As a character, while I love Harry’s look and confidence, I’m saddened to say he isn’t overly likeable. Harry screams confidence, but he’s also cocky and arrogant. Sometimes his interactions with women come across as sexist. Sure, as the film progresses, there are some minor redeeming qualities, but watching this in the present day could be a challenge for some just based on the leading man alone. Elements such as costumes are wonderful, and there is a large cast which at key moments are quite impressive. The stunning locations are also impressive.
The pacing of Secret of the Incas is a struggle. More importantly, while the story sounds interesting with the promise of excitement, there is no rush to get to the fun and adventurous aspects until the third act and final moments. The film is quite dialogue-heavy and talks a lot about history and various backstories. At times, Harry will be doing more than one thing, and some viewers may even find it hard to process what’s going on for the vast majority of the runtime.
Overall, for those who adore adventure films such as Indiana Jones, this is one for you. Having watched the film for the first time, it’s fun to see how it has encouraged many great adventure stories like it. While the adventure aspects feel minor, it’s still pleasing to experience the costumes and location. However, the leading character played by Charlton Heston is unlikeable, given his level of arrogance and sexism towards others. With only minor character development and a slow storyline that carries promise with little delivery, I couldn’t help wanting something far greater. Secret of the Incas isn’t gold or silver but a step-down to the rusted bronze level.