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  • Mackenna’s Gold
    • Mackenna’s Gold
    • Runtime:127 min
    • Release Date:2014-07-23 07:36:49
    • Director: J. Lee Thompson
    • Genres: Romance, Western
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Mackenna’s Gold
Auhtor:

   

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Oh dear,with so many stars the should have been a great film.It looks
like the were experimenting with different types films and making the
story up as they went along. Not one of Gregerory Peck's best films. He
looked completely disinterested. The story was so far fetched. Why did
Omar Shariff leave the gold at the end to go rock climbing after Peck.
Scenery is stunning but what a waste of stars. The final sequence with
group coming down the mountains was ludicrous . The horses kept turning
and turning I thought they were never going to stop. The final scene
with the mountain's collapsing were very stagy and rather summed up the
film.

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This is a Western that ought to have everything: amazing vistas; larger
than life characters; Indians; the Cavalry; a US Marshall and a Mexican
bandit; and a treasure worth dying for. It looks as if it should have
been a Spaghetti Western and probably would have made more sense had it
been. Unfortunately the nearest comparison is more like It's a Mad Mad
Mad Mad World.

The huge cast seems to exist just to give most of the actors cameos in
the film. No sooner are most introduced (and some with extended
explanations of who they are and why they're here) than they are killed
one way or another. Omar Sharif is utterly unconvincing as a Mexican,
and Gregory Peck seems to have phoned in his performance (which puts
his performance as General MacArthur in the 1977 film in a good light).

Also, the plot doesn't make a great deal of sense. The ending is
contrived and not really explained well – the special effects have aged
horribly over the 40 years since this was made. Also, any films that
requires a voice over to explain the plot or the characters motives all
the time, can't be that good at telling and explaining things
naturally.

A pity. because as a "Saturday/Sunday Afternoon film" on TV (to be
watched while you're doing something else) it's not bad! In fact, so
bad it's good.

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In 1874 Arizona, a marshal is bushwhacked by an elderly Apache Indian
chief carrying a treasure map detailing the whereabouts of a hidden
valley of gold; upon the chief's demise, the marshal (who has memorized
the map and destroyed it) becomes the prisoner/reluctant ally of a
bloodthirsty outlaw and his men who want the gold all for themselves.
Trimmed by Columbia Pictures before its release from a three-hour
length down to just over two hours, "Mackenna's Gold" features a
simple-minded narration by Victor Jory–ostensibly to fill us in on the
bothersome story details–but the filmmakers needn't have gone to so
much trouble, because their picture is a catastrophe anyway. The Super
Panavision 70 vistas are breathtaking to behold (as are the
roller-coaster point-of-view shots from the galloping horses), but the
intermingled studio footage is an eyesore by comparison, and the film
has some of the choppiest editing I've ever seen in a major motion
picture. Worse, the strong cast of supporting players are mostly used
for target practice, allowing maniacal killer Omar Sharif to
practically own the film's entire second-half. Sharif is game but he
isn't convincing, and his character Colorado falls prey to some glaring
gaps of logic in Carl Foreman's messy screenplay. As the stalwart
marshal, Gregory Peck looks understandably sheepish–not even two
attractive females in the group rouse his excitement. The finale is a
jaw-dropping display of effects, noise, and brutality, and it makes no
more sense than the rest of the picture, yet interest is sustained
(incredibly) and one is apt to feel they have witnessed something here.
Something most definitely wrong-headed, but peculiarly intriguing
nonetheless. ** from ****

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One of the all-time great Westerns with solid plot, character
development, unique settings and cinematic techniques, especially given
the available technological tools of that time period. Starting with
Victor Jory's solid, no-nonsense narrative, accompanied by Q. Jones/J.
Feliciano's "Turkey Buzzard", the wheels are set in motion for a
rousing good tale of greed and how it festers itself inside men of
varying social and/or economic strata: everyone comes up with his/her
own pattern of excuses and sanctimonious justifications for following
the elusive gold score.

This film's story line develops using a fairly linear and logical plot
line which is executed by a gifted and enthusiastic cast using an
extremely well written script. G. Peck, as the title character, is his
usual solid self with his signature stage presence, but O. Sharif
steals the show with his lusty and vibrant portrayal as the film's main
desperado antagonist. His scene with McKenna where he tells him about
what he'll do with his share of the supposed loot (a gentleman in
Paris!) is short but emphatic, as it shows the scoundrel in a much
different light, adding to the film's flavor. The old guard of actors,
such as R. Massey. L.J. Cobb, B. Meredith, etc. have limited roles, but
make optimal use of their brief time allotments. The exception here,
however, is E.G Robinson's 5-10 minute gripping soliloquy of his
experience at the "canon del oro", where the whole cast (and probably
the whole audience!) is engaged in rapt attention to what he says.

But the cinematic magic really takes form as the movie draws to its
conclusion as the remaining gold-seekers arrive at the canyon and
prepare for their mission's conclusion. The audio and visual impact of
the ride to and through the canyon and what might happen at any given
point in time makes for a breath-taking segment. With today's computer
simulated graphics software, I wonder what a modern film-maker would
have at hand to simulate the canyon scenes. But, alas, I digress.
Modern technology or not, those scenes really played out well, as did
the cool conclusion to a most enjoyable film.

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