Gold" on DVD
From the team that
brought you "The Guns of Navarone" comes "Mackenna's Gold," an epic Western
about the search for a hoard of legendary Indian gold.
Gregory Peck is Sam
Mackenna, a federal Marshall who comes into possession of the only map
showing where the famed canyon that hides the Apache treasure is. He destroys
the map, after memorizing it, but is captured by outlaw John Colorado
(Omar Sharif) and his gang and forced to take them to the "mother lode."
Mackenna says he's
been to the mystery canyon before and insists there's no gold there, but
Colorado and his cronies have gold fever and aren't about to listen to
The situation is exacerbated
by the arrival, and teaming up, of a group of "civilians" from the town
of Hadleyburg (a "Who's Who" of crusty old pros including Burgess Meredith,
Lee J. Cobb, Raymond Massey, Anthony Quayle, Edward G. Robinson, and Eli
Fortunately for Mackenna,
the civilians and a good part of Colorado's band all get killed, which
brings the odds a little more down to earth for the Marshall.
The trip to find the
canyon takes them through some pretty spectacular scenery, including a
couple of shots that are obvious matte paintings. When they eventually
find the lost valley, it turns out that Mackenna was either misinformed
or lying - 'cause the gold's there as advertised.
The Apaches, whose
gold it is, aren't about to sit idly by while it gets ransacked, however,
and they arrive on the scene to prevent Mackenna and Colorado from pulling
off their "heist."
The movie means well,
and succeeds for the most part, but there are some bizarre shots and strange
scenes that seem out of place in the story. A special effects-laden finale
also seems out of place, and it comes after Mackenna and Colorado climb
a tall cliff to an ancient Apache settlement - then climb back down again
right away. Why'd they go up there in the first place, except to add some
height (or is it depth?) to their fist fight?
The cast is great,
as would be expected by such a team and you can almost overlook the plot's
occasional silliness in favor of the movie's good points.
The DVD comes in widescreen
and Pan&Scan on opposite sides, though the Pan&Scan version is
presented in widescreen through the opening credits. The digitally mastered
anamorphic video and Dolby Digital 5.0 channel audio are first rate.
Extras include a
theatrical poster, a liner essay, production notes, talent files and trailers.
Mackenna's Gold tries
to be an epic, but it doesn't quite succeed. Still, it's at worst a couple
of hours worth of aimless thrills in the home theater.
Mackenna's Gold, from
Columbia Tristar Home Video
123 minutes, Widescreen (2.35:1)/Pan&Scan, Dolby Digital 5.0
Starring Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, Telly Savalas, Julie Newmar, Camilla
Produced by Carl Foreman and Dimitri Tiomkin
Written by Carl Foreman, Directed by J. Lee Thompson
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