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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 (17 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 28.97 & FREE Shipping. Details
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MacKenna's Gold (Bilingual) + The Stalking Moon (Sous-titres franais)
Price For Both: CDN$ 38.94

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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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ONLY FULLSCREEN VERSION AVAILABLE? Feb. 22 2005
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
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars False Advertising April 28 2006
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A Golden Classic April 29 2003
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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3.0 out of 5 stars MacKenna's Gold Nov. 17 2001
By Grant
Format:VHS Tape
In the mid sixties, I imagine that some big shot executive probably called a meeting, and said...'I have such a killer cast lined up for this new movie I am imagining! All I need is a couple of million dollars, and a half way decent script!' That is basically all this movie is. A movie with a GREAT cast(i.e. Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, Telly Savalas, Julie Newmar, Burgess Meredith, and Edward G Robinson), a huge budget for the time, and a poor script at best.
The story is about the gangster Colorado, who kidnaps Marshal McKenna. He believes that McKenna has seen a map which leads to a rich vein of gold in the mountains and forces him to show him the way. But they're not the only ones who're after the gold; soon they meet a group of "honorable" citizens and the cavalry crosses their way too - and that is even before they enter Indian territory.
There is lots of action: shootouts, underwater fight scenes, and an exciting ending that almost makes you forget about what a waste of talent the rest of the movie was!
I can't say that I didn't like this movie, because I did, but I can't say I really liked this movie either. It is just that type of movie that you either love...or hate! You make the descision!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A tribute to my childhood. July 17 2000
I am not going to categorize and compare this western in the more
appropriate context because it's very special for any Russian male in
my generation (I am 33).
The only Westerns we were allowed to see
were produced by East German studio DEFA with only one star - the
Yugoslav hunk Goiko Mititch. And mostly only one plot - the greedy
prospectors come to take the Indian land and the feathered patriots
put on the warpaint, flex their muscles - they all were very athletic,
unlike the whites who were depicted as the degenerates in every sense
- and gallop to sweep the terrain clean of that capitalist scum.
we were grateful even for that substitute, tired of seeing the other
Red Against White flicks - the films about the Russian Civil War
heroes killing the White Guards by hundreds for the sake of Mother
Russia's communist future.
And then "Zoloto Makkeni" was
imported. Why? The message was clear - "Look at these gold-crazed
American bastards! Preachers, journalists, merchants,
bandidos,soldiers, adventurers - all of them are ready to sell their
Momma's for a speck of golden dust! And this time they testify
themselves, not our East German friends." -
But who cared about
all that? The authentic American Western! With the real Indians
instead of East German Olympic Team painted in gouache! The film's
mildly idiotic background commentaries did not make us flinch - they
fit into the didactic tradition we were used to.
And the opening
song! It was translated in Russian and sung in the film by the
Russia's much-adored sweet-voiced drunk Valeri Obodzinskij.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars McKenna's Gold is Worth the Price and Your Time to Watch It.
From May of 1969 comes a gritty western with all the flavour of the Old West.
The cast of characters,both main and supporting is superb. Read more
Published 2 months ago by douglas reid
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate Movie Marvel
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. Read more
Published on July 19 2003 by Phani
Published on April 5 2003 by MTNWESTMAN4MEN
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Western
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. Read more
Published on Jan. 12 2002 by Chet Ragsdale
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a good movie!
I don't understand why Leonard Maltin and one or two of the customer reviews are so dismissive of this movie. Read more
Published on Dec 21 2001 by WLR
4.0 out of 5 stars Doc
This is one of those Westerns thatboarders in the Si-Fi.Don`t take that the wrong way, itis a most entertaining flim. Read more
Published on Nov. 13 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars A GOLDEN DVD FOR A NOT SO BAD FLICK
Much more exciting than what the bad reviews predicted. The plot is far from being confusing although some of the main stars (Eli Wallach, Edward G.Robinson... Read more
Published on July 12 2000
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