Monday, March 23, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Mother Lode (1982)

Mother Lode isn't one of Charlton Heston's most popular movies, but it is a picture that I have always enjoyed.  Man's lust for gold sets the stage for deception, mystery, and murder in this adventure with ample doses of suspense and intrigue.  The locations are gorgeous, the film benefits from some wonderful cinematography, and the acting is solid across the board.  Heston kills it, but that's obvious, right?  After all, we're talking about Charlton Heston.  Nick Mancuso did a fine job with his role and Kim Basinger was obviously on her way to stardom.  There are some creepy moments and a wealth of tension, and the atmosphere is a major strength for Mother Lode.  The wide shots of the aptly-named Lake Lovely Waters and the equally stirring Fraser River Valley in British Columbia are marvelous to behold and contrast nicely with the claustrophobic interior shots within the mine that is so essential to the film.  Heston's cozy/creepy cabin is also a nice touch.  Additionally, Mother Lode is well-plotted, with the spine-tingling opening scene setting the hook well and allowing the picture to slowly build until things really get going in a riveting third act.  The conclusion that follows is satisfying and there honestly isn't much to complain about so far as this peculiar movie from 1982 is concerned.  It didn't receive a wide release in the U.S. and maybe that's why it flew so low under the radar and remains undiscovered by so many viewers.  Rest assured, Mother Lode isn't cinematic gold, but it is a good movie bolstered by an impressive performance courtesy of one of the finest actors ever to grace the screen.

Final Grade: B-

"Whoops!  My bad."


One of the cooler sequences in Mother Lode involves a plane crash that wasn't scripted.  The pilot really fouled up his water landing and the filmmakers incorporated the ensuing chaos into the film.

"Get your hands off of my gold, you damn dirty ape!"


  1. Yep. Used to watch this one with my pops, always loved it. Thought it was creepy and did a great job building suspense. I remember thinking "Mother Lode" - this has to be a old porn - sweet it has Kim Basinger and Heston, ooooo things are going to be naughty. Then I was like oh Mother Lode - gold, well ok fine seems legit to me.

    Other notes - Heston directed himself in this using his production company, and I thought that Nick Mancuso was brilliant in this.

    1. You actually introduced me to this one once upon a when. I had never seen or heard of it and you let me borrow a VHS copy. Ah, the good old days . . .