Mackenna’s Gold (1969)

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This is a Super panavision film released in 70mm widescreen.It is an action packed Western melodrama based on a folklore of the Ancient American Indians. MacKenna’s Gold is a lavish film, and quite an entertaining one too.Shot in 1968, it boasts of some excellent color photography with wonderful panoramic visuals..
It had some of the biggest stars of those days like Gregory peck,Omar Sheriff ,Telly Savales, Eli Wallaich, Anthony Gale, Camilla Sparv..

The Film

MecKennas Gold is the story of a group of people looking for a legendary valley of Gold and how the lure of gold corrupts these diverse group of people.

The opening song, “Old Turkey Buzzard” was sung by José Feliciano and was composed by Quincy Jones with lyrics by Freddie Douglas.
The film opens with a narration by Victor Jory about an Apache legend, about a hidden canyon, guarded by the Apache gods filled with gold.the legend goes on to tell that, as long as the Apaches kept the canyon a secret and never touched the gold, they would be strong and powerful, and the Apaches guarded it against white men for centuries…

MacKenna ( Gregory peck) , a Marshal helps the Old Apache chief, who is dying .the Apache chief gives him the map with the location of the Gold valley, but tells MacKenna that there was nothing there except dust.But MacKenna is curious to go and see for himself.he destroys the map that the Apache chief gave him before dying, as he memorises the location.But the Mexican bandit too is on the trail of the gold and he kidnaps Mckanna , thinking that he has the map.

There are many who are looking for this Valley of Gold including the Mexican bandit Colarado(Omar Sherieff) and his team, and there are others as well like the U.S cavalry and some Good citizens as they call themselves…..
So the odd group after a lot of skirmishes with the Indians, who are constantly on their trail, set off to find the Gold..

My views

This is an enjoyable film, with some utterly funny yet the same time cruel scenes picturised on Omar Sherieff.he suits the role of a mexican bandit like no other.The scene where he sniffs the air and says that there are horses around is quite funny.

Gregory Peck is one of the Hollywood greats,  his Films and performances have been very impressive. Here in this film, he is good, but frankly Omar Sherieff overshadows him in many scenes.
The best part about the film is the wonderful picturisation and some amazing shots taken from the air of Canyon de Chelly .It is fantastic, when you know that in 1968 they did not have any computer graphics or even the super sophisticated camera equipment that is available today.

Apparently, Clint Eastwood was offered the role of MacKenna originally ,which he turned down, as it did not interest him, and then Gregory peck stepped in.
Actress Camilla Sparv has a romantic role opposite Gregory Peck, but in a action film of this sort, there isnt much to do for the ladies..the other one being Julie Newmar as an Apache girl previously involved with MacKenna, best remembered for her nude swimming scene in the film with Mackenna.

Film Details

Actors: Gregory Peck, Omar Sharif, Telly Savalas, Camilla Sparv, Keenan Wynn
Directors: J. Lee Thompson
Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Thai
Run Time: 122 minutes

It was a very successful film, liked by all..

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