In-between the Ralph Thomas directed and Betty Box produced movies Doctor at Large (1957) and Tale of Two Cities (1958) Dirk Bogarde played Scotsman Bruce Campbell in a British adventure film Campbell’s Kingdom (1957). Campbell had been told he has only six months to live; he has an unnamed terminal disease. Following this devastating piece of news he then finds out that he has inherited a small valley in the Canadian Rocky Mountains known as Campbell’s Kingdom from his grandfather. Before the old man died in suspicious circumstances he was convinced that his land had a rich vain of oil beneath it. But when Bruce arrives from England he discovers that the land is to be flooded on completion of a nearby dam, which means he only has a short time to determine if his grandfather was correct and save the valley. The dam is being built by a corrupt construction contractor Owen Morgan (a menacing Stanley Baker) who will stop at nothing to finish the dam even if it means resorting to dirty tricks to stop Campbell proving that there is oil on his land and therefore preventing the flooding of the valley.
Assisting Bogarde in his quest is Barbara Murray who plays the daughter of old man Campbell’s crooked partner, who had swindled the locals out of their savings, and Bruce’s love interest Jean Lucas. Michael Craig plays the geologist Boy Bladen. James Robertson Justice, with a dubious Scottish accent, play’s a drilling contractor whose willing to risk every thing on Bladen geology results, the ones that Owen Morgan has been suspected of tampering with!
Set in the Alberta, the movie was shot in the Italian Dolomites and at the Pinewood Studios in England. The movie was seen at the time as an attempt to emulate Hollywood’s western genre action films but most critics of the period did not think it succeeded. Returning to it now it turns out to be a very satisfying watch. It was based on a cracking old fashioned adventure yarn written by Hammond Innes in 1952 and adapted by Robin Estridge. With a great cast and an exciting climax its well worth 102 minutes of your time. Another significant release from Network.