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MacKenna's Gold (Bilingual)

Gregory Peck , Omar Sharif , J. Lee Thompson    DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 14.99
Price: CDN$ 11.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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MacKenna's Gold (Bilingual) + Stalking Moon + Yellow Sky
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Attempting to do for Westerns what his Guns of Navarone had done for World War II action epics, director J. Lee Thompson crafted Mackenna's Gold as a lavish, absurdly ambitious variation on Erich Von Stroheim's Greed, resulting in a last-gasp Western so eager to encompass the genre's traditions that it turns into a big, silly, wildly entertaining mess. Gregory Peck surely had more serious intentions when he signed on, and he brings prestigious gravitas to his glum role as Marshall Mackenna, who gets shanghaied into searching for the gold-filled canyon of an elusive Apache legend. The rest of the 1969 film labors to undermine Peck's respectable demeanor; how else to explain Omar Sharif as a Mexican villain, Julie Newmar as a hot-blooded Apache temptress (with underwater nude scenes that were celebrated in Playboy magazine), and a jaw-dropping finale that's so ridiculous it's impressive in spite of itself?

Formerly blacklisted screenwriter Carl Foreman and composer Dimitri Tiomkin joined up to coproduce the film, and one can only imagine how Anthony Mann or Howard Hawks might've handled Foreman's sensible script. Thompson goes for scenic splendor, heavy action, and heavier emotions, casting everything at a fever pitch that's wildly enjoyable without betraying his "serious" intentions. A stable of Hollywood veterans (Eli Wallach, Raymond Massey, Edward G. Robinson, and others) appear in lively supporting roles--they're all dispatched in a garish Apache ambush--and Camilla Sparv is an ingénue with plenty of fighting attitude. Gold fever reaches its peak, along with some awesome special effects, and divine intervention reaches new heights of intensity. Top it off with José Feliciano's theme song, and you'll be in zany Western heaven. --Jeff Shannon


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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ONLY FULLSCREEN VERSION AVAILABLE? Feb. 22 2005
Format:DVD
This is a brilliant movie. However, be aware, that the version that I was shipped (February 2005) from Amazon.ca, is NOT the version described here. THERE IS NO WIDESCREED VERSION on side 2. There is no side 2. I would check before ordering.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars False Advertising April 28 2006
Format:DVD
I'm another person who got pulled by the 'widescreen' label in Amazon's ad. This is a pan and scan version only, unfortunately clipping a marvellous film's beautiful photography. Save your money and wait for the widescreen version, if it ever comes out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
And it's a good one. The movie doesn't stick strictly by any version of the legend. It varies from the McKenna account as much as it strays from all the others. Still, Edward G. Robinson plays a great Adams. For me the most memorable scene has most of the characters sitting around a camp fire. One of them recognizes Adams as 'The Adams', and they all persuade him to tell the story of how he came to find the gold, how the massacre happened, and how it was lost. A great scene, even if it weren't about the Lost Adams Diggings legend. Adams sat around a lot of camp fires in the 1870s and told that story, probably about the way Edward G. Robinson tells it in the movie.
The final episode is pure fabrication, but spectacular enough to make up for it. This one's a winner and you don't need to care or know about the Adams legend of lost gold to appreciate it.
The McKenna version of the legend actually centers on Jacob Snively, the German or Duchman in Adams' tale. Snively fought at San Jacinto, served as Paymaster General for the Republic of Texas, raided commerce on the Santa Fe Trail as a 'land privateer' for the Republic and drifted west in 1849. The German found his talent by striking gold and starting several gold rushes in Arizona and New Mexico. (Snively was killed by Apaches in 1871) J. Frank Dobie's book combines several conflicting accounts given by Adams. John Brewer's story, (another survivor) varies considerably from the other accounts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate Movie Marvel July 19 2003
By Phani
Format:DVD
Although, it has been trashed in the West, it was one of the biggest hits in India in those days. Movie audiences still feel its magic as one of the finest epic tales. And, I have not seen any other movie as many times as this. Every now and then, its re-release in the local movie theater sees it run for atleast 6-8 weeks.
There is a gorgeous charm that emanates from this movie. And that is reflected by the Grand Canyon, Colrado river, those Apache Indians, the haunting music,J.Lee Thompson, Tell Savalas, Omar Shariff and my man Gregory Peck. May His Soul Rest in Peace.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Golden Classic April 29 2003
Format:DVD
One of my all time favorites I was really glad when it was released on dvd. This western has it all. Lots of action, big name stars, and gorgeous scenery. This movie is why I bought a big screen (55inch) tv. You just can't appreciate this kind of cinematic splendor on a 27 inch screen. The opening sequence is terrific. The gunfight between Gregory Peck and the old indian chief is awsome in surround sound making the richoteing bullets bouncing off the canyon walls puts you right in the middle of the action. Omar Sharif pulls it off rather well as a mexican bandit. Gregory Peck...well shucks he's good here to as the marshal shanghaid to lead a band of misfits and cutthroats to an unbelievable valley of gold.
If there's anything for me to critize I guess it would be some of the hokey special effects. I still laugh every time I see the obvious models used in the near death scene on the creaky bridge. Still I can overlook some minor faults in such a great western. Not perfect yet few movies are. I give it 5 stars for sheer entertainment.
One other bit of critique is to the 5.0 soundtrack. Why leave out the subwoofer? It would have been great in the final earthquake sequence.
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4.0 out of 5 stars LOOK AT ALL THE GREAT ACTORS IN THIS FILM:) April 5 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I LOVED THIS FILM WHEN I WAS A PROJECTIONIST AT THE DEFUNCT "RAMONA" MOVIE THEATRE IN HIGH SCHOOL. I STILL LIKE THE TITLE SONG BY JOSE FELICIANO "OLD TURKEY BUZZARD" AVAIL ON WESTERN MUSIC CD COMPILATIONS.
TODAY I RECD A SILVER COMMEMORATIVE INAUGURAL COIN FROM OUR (WYOMING) GOVERNOR, WHO LIKES "OLD WESTERNS, WHERE YOU CAN TELL THE GOOD GUY'S FROM THE BAD" I THOUGHT THE PERFECT THANK YOU WOULD BE "MACKENNAS GOLD"
--- SILVER AND GOLD STAND THE TEST OF TIME AS DOES "MACKENNAS GOLD" THE SCENERY AND BLUE SKIES GIVE THE FILM AND OLD FILM LOOK, BUT A GOOD LOOK, CAN YOU SMELL THE WESTERN SAGEBRUSH?
A GOOD COMPANION FILM WOULD BE "THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE" WITH HUMPHREY BOGART?
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Western Jan. 12 2002
Format:DVD
I loved this movie. I always had a thirst for lost gold and buried treasure and this flick quenches my thirst, what's more it is just great fun. Gregory Peck and Omar Sharif are good guy-bad guy. A few cameos by Eli Wallach, Burgess Meredith and Edward G. Robinson. The only hokie parts are when they stop at a watering hole and take a swim in obviously Hollywood doctored water,and some minaturized earthquake scenes. Overall though this movie is great escapism.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This is a good movie! Dec 21 2001
By WLR
Format:DVD
I don't understand why Leonard Maltin and one or two of the customer reviews are so dismissive of this movie. I agree that it's not the Magnificent Seven or the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, but this is a very well made movie. It plays in the light hearted style of a fable or campfire tale and is not pretentious. You couldn't ask for a better cast or production values or special effects. The plot is simple but that's part of the charm of this movie. I guarantee that 90% of western fans will enjoy it.
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