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Author Topic: Mackenna's Gold (1969)  (Read 14075 times)
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« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2011, 10:13:04 AM »

Personally I'd only watch it again for incredible landscapes on Julie Newmar  Azn

Well, I watched it again after more than 40 years. And liked it. I hope to watch it again 40 years from now. And only for the landscapes ON Julie Newmar.

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stanton
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« Reply #31 on: May 02, 2016, 04:58:48 PM »

Mackenna's Gold - J. Lee Thompson

Such must have a film looked if the great Demofilo Fidani had ever made a big budget western. An absolute catastrophe, in which nearly everything went wrong which could went wrong, with storytelling and directing competing for the most idiotic ideas. And there are many of them.
And the widescreen directing, with everything in the center of the image, was surely a welcomed gift for the fullscreen versions back in the glorious times of 4:3 TVs.

Still not a complete bore and some of the ridiculous stuff looks interesting, but most likely always against the film's intentions.  2/10

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« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2016, 01:27:39 AM »

This is truly a real turkey. 2/10

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« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2016, 02:21:46 AM »


Yes, and?

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« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2016, 12:34:04 PM »

You stick to your rating.

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« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2016, 01:01:22 PM »

It seems so. So at least once I stayed true to myself.

Had forgotten that I already rated it here. And I was eager to give it a 0, but then hesitated because it had some kind of entertainment value.

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« Reply #36 on: May 03, 2016, 03:25:35 PM »

Terrible film. As usual the actors are not to blame, 'some wonderful people in it.
I saw it in a cinema when I was 10, then 20 years later in the 90s - old fashioned and badly done.

It is a perfect example of a big-budget US western helping the (US based) genre going out of fashion,
making it easier for the Italians to take over Smiley.

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« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2016, 03:57:03 PM »

How much of that scene was included in the TCM version?  I remember Playboy showing her diving in topless, and emerging bottomless.   

I don't think these made it into the theatrical cut, so likely would not be on TCM version.





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« Reply #38 on: May 04, 2016, 02:04:49 AM »

She's nude when she jumps into the water, without thát loincloth, but it is shown from a greater distance. Later you see her (or her body double) naked under water, and from behind when she gets out of the lake.

Unusual for a mainstream film from 1969.

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« Reply #39 on: May 24, 2017, 02:50:17 AM »

Adding review.

How to succeed by failing big?

Mackenna's Gold is directed by J. Lee Thompson and adapted for the screen by Carl Foreman from a novel of the same name written by Henry Wilson Allen (AKA: Heck Allen, Henry Allen & Will Henry!), which in turn is loosely based on the legend of the Lost Adams Diggings. It stars Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, Camilla Sparv, Julie Newmar, Ted Cassidy & Telly Savalas. It's photographed by Joseph MacDonald in Technicolor and Super Panavision, with a music score by Quincy Jones.

It begins so well, the credits inform us that not only do we get Peck, Sharif and Newmar in lead roles, but that we also have in support a role call of quality thespians: Eli Wallach, Edward G. Robinson, Raymond Massey, Burgess Meredith, Lee J. Cobb, Keenan Wynn & Anthony Quayle. We are then treated to some gorgeous aerial photography of Monument Valley, a Vulture glides gracefully thru the air, and then, we hear the awful strains of "Old Turkey Buzzard" warbled like it belongs in a seventies porn movie by José Feliciano. It's there that the true marker for Mackenna's Gold is set.

The idea and source for the plot is safe, Lawman Mackenna (Peck) has the knowledge of where the legendary Canyon of Gold is. A fabled place awash with gold but guarded religiously by the Apache. With the map safely tucked away in his brain, Peck is quickly captured by blood thirsty Mexican bandit, Colorado (Sharif), and his companions, one of which (Newmar playing Indian Hesh-Ke) has past history with Mackenna. But that's not all, pretty soon Mackenna's party are joined by a whole host of other gold seekers, all seemingly gripped with Gold Fever. So in fighting and suspicion ensues, and with the Cavalry in pursuit of Colorado and the Apache still to come, this is as dangerous as it gets. If only the film wasn't so choppy and flat.

The film was originally a three hour epic, complete with intermission, but the budget probably all went on securing the cast and the producers don't seem able to deal with the task of making a big budget epic. Thus the film was cut to just over two hours; thank god for small mercies! Looking at the cast assembled it's obvious that this was a very ambitious project meant to keep the Western flag flying high and enthral the adventure seeking cinema goer. And you can see why such a quality cast signed on for the film, tho Peck was second choice after Clint Eastwood wisely chose to make Hang Em High instead. But what plays out is a series of clichés and absurdities that makes one unintentionally laugh. The effects are awful, I mean OK we don't expect back screen work to be high class, but here, with the actors half heartedly pretending it's real, it belies the fine work of MacDonald for the exteriors.

The problems don't just stop with the effects, before we even get to the issues in the cast, there's Jones' dreadful score to try and ignore. It sounds like he thinks he's scoring a Keystone Cops Gold Rush type movie! Dimitri Tiomkin, along with Foreman, is on production duties (hmm), I'm sure he could have knocked up something better for this film in his sleep. Peck is actually OK, with that laconic way of his, he suits the tone of the narrative. Sharif is grossly miscast, while Sparv is simply woeful. Newmar raises the temperatures of audience and cast alike, which you sense was her only instruction, while the lauded support cast file in and out without time to impact on proceedings. All of which leads to a finale of ham, model work and predictability. Yet there's been just enough to make the undemanding stay to the end. We wonder if indeed there is a Canyon of Gold, and Peck is so likable we just want to see him win out and defy the baddies.

Does it succeed by failing big? Well it is fun, but coming as it does from the makers of the Guns of Navarone, you have to believe that the end product is not the sort of entertainment they originally set out to craft. 3.5/10


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