The famous 1964 Chichester stage production opened out for its later film adaptation in 1969.
‘The Royal Hunt of the Sun’ is adapted from a play by Peter Shaffer (who also wrote ‘Equus’ and ‘Amadeus’), first produced in 1964, and its theatrical origins remain evident even in the cinematic adaptation even though shot on location. Francisco Pizarro's expedition to Peru and the conquest of the Inca Empire, is mainly confined indoors and the atmosphere is closed and even claustrophobic. Robert Shaw plays Pizarro, the Spanish explorer who makes one final journey to South America to prove to his king that there is gold for everyone there.
This time he's being forced to bring two priests and a couple of the kings men with him, which causes trouble. The only thing they want is to make everyone they meet a Christian and claim more land for Spain. Pizarro is a warrior, but also much smarter than the religious idiots he has to bring with him, and when they meet a young and free-spirited Inca King (Christopher Plummer, who played Pizarro on Broadway), he's starting to get confused about his mission and about his religion.
‘The Royal Hunt of the Sun’ was first presented at the Chichester Festival Theatre by the National Theatre and subsequently at the Old Vic in July 1964. The cast was led by Robert Stephens as Atahualpa and Colin Blakely as Pizarro.
UK · USA · 1969 · Irving Lerner · 115min