Plunder of the Sun

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Al Colby (Glenn Ford) finds himself in the middle of some hard times. He is flat broke and with no funds, is stranded in Havana. The situation has him stuck in a massive rut, one which he is having immense trouble getting himself out of. As he sits in a bar to drink himself a break from his woes, his luck seems to change when a beautiful woman sits down beside him. As it turns out, she is quite interested in Al and even knows a little about him, so she invites him to escort her somewhere more private. Her plan isn’t one of romance however, instead she takes him to meet her employer Thomas Barrien (Francis L. Sullivan). An offer is made for Al to venture to Mexico, pick up some goods smuggled out of Mexico, then smuggle them back in. The task is risky, but Al needs the cash to get back home, so he accepts. As soon he embarks on a freighter to Mexico, he learns that his employer has enemies and not very kind ones. When he does take possession of the goods, it seems like everyone around him wants them and will do whatever is needed to take them from him.

Are you in the mood for a noir thriller about an insurance adjuster out for vengeance that plays like a tourist council advertisement for visiting Mexico? I can’t imagine that would be the case, but if so, then you’ll be thrilled with Plunder of the Sun. I was never really bored with this movie, but I never really cared either and the end credits were my favorite portion, to be sure. The film is dead serious, but has some spots that are sure to make you laugh. This isn’t as bad as most of the films you’d find on Mystery Science Theater 3000, but there is ample cause to offer your own alternate vocal track. I mean, its hard to get into or appreciate a noir picture when it is filled with so many laughable moments. They’re meant to be taken seriously and played deadpan, but I found this to be a total unintentional comedy. So the movie isn’t good enough to be good, but is it bad enough to be good? The answer is no, even with the laughs, the entertainment value is rather low here. Plunder of the Sun is one that just never clicked with me, so I can’t really recommend this release. If you’ve seen the flick and love it, then by all means, as Paramount has issued a solid presentation.

Video: How does it look?

Plunder of the Sun is presented in full frame, as intended. This is an average, but still solid transfer given the age and low profile of the movie. The print is in more than decent shape, but has some debris at times and grain can be seen also. I found detail level to be moderate, as there is some softness present, but the image is clear enough in most sequences. The real issue here is contrast, as this is a black & white flick, so when some scenes are overly dark, it can obscure the visuals. A few problems from time to time, but overall, this is an acceptable presentation.

Audio: How does it sound?

An adequate, but unimpressive mono track handles the audio side of things, which is good and bad news. You’ll hear all the elements in decent enough form with this mix, but on the whole, this is a very unmemorable experience. The dialogue is sharp and clear though, so the main portions are well tended to and never falter. I just wish the music and sound effects could show more range at times, but that is one of the limits of the mono format. This disc also includes English subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

An audio commentary is up first, as film historian Frank Thompson is joined by Peter Ford, the son of star Glenn Ford. Ford shares some memories passed to him by his father, including that fact that his father had just seen the film for the first time right before the commentary was recorded. So while the information is second hand, at least it comes from someone close to Ford, making it as accurate as possible. I skipped the handful or so of featurettes, but I did check out the film’s theatrical trailer.

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