26 January 2014 | MartinHafer
You'd think this would be a lot more interesting given the subject matter.
This film was recently shown on Turner Classic Movies and the print was appallingly bad. While shot in Technicolor, the print is badly faded, a bit dark at times and a bit blurry. It sure ain't pretty.
Dr. Burnet (Eric Portman) is an archaeologist whose passion is finding the famed Mask of Moloch. However, after years of searching in Algeria, he's exhausted his funds--though he thinks he's tantalizingly close. In order to finance his next expedition, he's forced to take along an American writer who he has no interest in taking with him. He thinks Nicholas Chapman (Van Heflin) is a boob, though Chapman is naturally the right man for the expedition. You know this because the British producers of this film have imported an American to star in the picture--and they'd never have such a star be an idiot! While such an expedition might seem pretty mundane, unfortunately a couple fortune-hunters, Kress and Petris are never far behind--waiting to steal the treasure and sell it to the highest bidder. You realize that something is afoot when Chapman returns to his hotel room to find it ransacked. But Kress and Petris are more than willing to go much further to get the mask.
With all these story elements, you would most likely assume it would an action-adventure film like "Raiders of the Lost Ark", right? Wrong. I agree with the other reviewers that say that it plays more like a documentary in style and especially in its pacing. The film should have been exciting but too often it just seems like a travelogue with a bit of a plot tossed into the mix. It takes too long to develop and the characters are amazingly flat. So, the dryness in this film is not just due to the desert locale! Overall, watchable but this is hardly an endorsement for you to watch the picture!