Replete with thrilling outdoors action, rugged portrayals and magnificent scenic backgrounds photographed in Eastman Color, this is one of the best Rank films in terms of American appeal.
Dirk Bogarde – whose three “Doctor” comedies had made him popular in America, was equally good in this strong dramatic role and James Robertson Justice and Stanley Baker were familiar to all devotees of British film.
On the death of old Campbell, who had owned a “kingdom” of land in the Canadian Rockies which he believed was rich in oil, contractor Owen Morgan (Baker) goes ahead with the building of a huge dam which will eventually flood the Campbell property.
But the grandson, Bruce Campbell (Bogarde), arrives from Scotland and refuses to believe Morgan’s survey showed no oil on the Campbell land. Although the townspeople are against Bruce, because the dead man had invested their money in his oil scheme, he wins support from Jean Lucas (Barbara Murray) and from Boy Bladen (Michael Craig), the survey expert.
Refusing Morgan’s offer for the “kingdom”, Bruce hires James MacDonald (James Robertson Justice) to start drilling for oil.
Although Morgan’s men do everything to stop them – even threatening to flood the land – a gusher is brought out. Fortunately, faulty cement used on the dam cracks and the valley is flooded, thus saving Bruce’s oil land.
The film starts off at a cracking pace and director Ralph Thomas maintains interest throughout with the melodramatic highlights including a truck race along a rocky roadside, the dynamiting of a hillside, the blowing up of a wooden bridge (a la Bridge On The River Kwai), an oil tanker explosion and the collapse of a huge dam which sends the workers into raging floodwaters.
A pleasing romance is woven into the plot, plus a few touches of whimsical comedy.
Although he starts off looking a bit wan – as befits a city-bred Scotsman – Bogarde later takes part in the fisticuffs and turns in a fine performance. Baker was certainly one of Britain’s most convincing villains.
Although set entirely in Canada, this movie was shot in the Dolomites mountain region of Italy.
James Robertson Justice