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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
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
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 morePublished on July 19 2003 by Phani
I LOVED THIS FILM WHEN I WAS A PROJECTIONIST AT THE DEFUNCT "RAMONA" MOVIE THEATRE IN HIGH SCHOOL. Read morePublished on April 5 2003 by MTNWESTMAN4MEN
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 morePublished on Jan. 12 2002 by Chet Ragsdale
I don't understand why Leonard Maltin and one or two of the customer reviews are so dismissive of this movie. Read morePublished on Dec 21 2001 by WLR