Roger Moore in Gold (1974)

Fool's Gold

When a shaft collapses at the Sonderditch mine Rod Slater (Roger Moore) is one of the first down there to try and rescue those who are trapped, including the mine's General Manager who unfortunately dies. What Slater doesn't know is that the collapse was no accident and part of a plan by a group of criminals to cause scarcity and increase the value and that the General Manager had been party to the plan. Things become more complicated when Slater begins an affair with Terry Steyner (Susannah York) the grand-daughter of mine owner Hurry Hirschfeld (Ray Milland) and who just happened to be married to Manfred Steyner (Bradford Dillman) who is in cahoots with the criminals to flood the mine. Whilst Slater is away with Terry the plans to flood the mine are put in to effect leading to Slater hurrying back to go in to the mine with the loyal Big King (Simon Sabela) to try and stop the complete destruction of the mine.

First things first and anyone who is enticed into watching "Gold" now because they see that it stars Roger Moore or who are fans of Wilbur Smith's original novel should be warned as this movie was made back in 1974 and is incredibly dated. It can't be helped but it does make it hard work especially for those who find the 70s look really dull which is sadly the case for me.

Bradford Dillman in Gold (1974)

Now having never read Wilbur Smith's novel "Gold Mine", on which this is adapted, I don't know how loyal it is to the story but the basic storyline is not bad. In a way it is basic as we have the nefarious Steyner putting Slater in charge as he thinks he can manipulate him, he allows his wife to have an affair to keep Slater out of the way and then when the mine is flooded Slater saves the day. There are to be honest very few surprises but in its almost predictability it works as it doesn't need to be any more complicated to entertain.

But the trouble is that "Gold" isn't that entertaining with firstly Roger Moore having starred in his first James Bond movie a year earlier playing to type as a smoothie with the ladies and an action hero as he risks his life going in to a mine. Maybe fans of Moore playing the ladies man will enjoy it but it just ends up cheesy. The other this is that it lacks atmosphere and an example of this is an early scene as a lift descends into the mine where there has been a disaster. It is a scene which is meant to make you feel the enclosed nature of the lift, the never ending darkness and the depth they are at but all it does is end up monotonous, far too many seconds of nothingness. Even the action scenes which range from fights to rescues and explosions all end up remarkably dull.

What this all boils down to is that "Gold" just doesn't do it for me and was a 2 hour slog which came up short on atmosphere and relied heavily on Roger Moore's charm to keep you entertained. Maybe someone will stumble across this and realise it is one of those old movies which could be made better if it was remade.