In the dusty South African mining town of Diamondstad, a hunter makes off with some diamonds from a forbidden zone, but while crossing the desert he dies. Lancaster, the guide who had taken the hunter out, is arrested by Henreid, the chief of security for the mining company, who tries to
beat the location of the still-missing diamonds out of him. Lancaster holds his tongue, and Henreid unwillingly lets him go. Rains, the head of the mining company, uses his influence to make Lancaster's life difficult and to force him to return for the diamonds he has hidden. Eventually the
strategy succeeds and Lancaster returns to Diamondstad. Henreid asks permission from Rains to try more torture, but instead Rains enlists prostitute Calvet to entice the information out of Lancaster. Lancaster resists her blandishments, but Henreid falls in love with her, while she in turn falls
in love with Lancaster. Lancaster confronts Henreid and forces him to take them both into the forbidden area to retrieve the diamonds. Lancaster gets away and Henreid murders one of Lancaster's friends, the company doctor, Jaffe, and leaves evidence that Calvet has committed the crime. Lorre, a
barfly and local character known appropriately as "Toady," lets Lancaster know that Calvet is about to be executed. Lancaster returns and approaches Rains with a proposition: the diamonds in exchange for the girl. Rains agrees and calls for Henreid, forcing him to sign an exonerating document.
Then Rains slips Henreid a gun, but calls out a warning to Lancaster, who shoots the hated commandant dead. Together again, Lancaster and Calvet leave, as Rains rehearses the speech he will give the police when they arrive. Entertaining, though hardly classic, attempt to recapture some of the
CASABLANCA magic by reuniting three of its stars, Rains, Lorre, and Henreid. The first two play their roles from the earlier movie with only slight variations, but Henreid does a 180-degree turn, becoming the sadistic villain--and doing it quite effectively. Of course, Lancaster doesn't approach
Bogart's great work, but he does provide for a lot of exciting action, particularly in the climactic fight between him and Henreid during a furious sandstorm. An above-average adventure film that fans of CASABLANCA won't find too disappointing.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: In the dusty South African mining town of Diamondstad, a hunter makes off with some diamonds from a forbidden zone, but while crossing the desert he dies. Lancaster, the guide who had taken the hunter out, is arrested by Henreid, the chief of security for… (more)