LEGEND OF THE LOST is another Wayne film I was entirely unfamiliar with until I stumbled across it. Released in 1957, it also starred Sophia Loren and Rossano Brazzi. It’s one of those lost cities in Africa tales.
Joe January(Wayne) is hired by Paul Bonnard(Brazzi) to guide him, via a tattered map, to a mysterious lost city, the name Opar was mentioned more than once, that his disappeared father supposedly had found and returned to, never to be seen again. “Rubies the size of eggs, emeralds as big as your fist!” It’s obvious Bonnard is obsessed about the whole thing and, throwing in a religious bent, one can forsee trouble ahead. January doesn’t care or believe. All he’s after is a payday. Dita(Loren) is a girl od dubious reputation, who, after a little personal attention from Bonnard, invites herself along on the expedition, following them into the night on foot until it’s too late to send her back when caught.
Thus begins a long hard trek, water running lone, and January believing it impossible there is a city in the direction they are heading. Also, despite her being there because of Bonnard, one can sense a growing attraction between the other two.
Suffice to say, a city is discovered, not the fabulously wealthy city of lore, but a former Roman city, crumbling(one thing that stuck out for me was the lack of sand throughout the city, one abandoned a thousand years). Finding the skeletal remains of three people and a handwritten letter by Bonnard’s father reveals some unpleasant truths and kicks off the unhinged man even more. Actually finding lost treasure, not the fabulous wealth expected, deteriorates things further and betrayals pile up.
A satisfying movie and yet another I’d never heard of before this.