August Bolte, the richest man in a settlement in German East Africa in the period before World War I, is called "Mamba" by the locals, which is the name of a deadly snake. Despised by the ...
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August Bolte, the richest man in a settlement in German East Africa in the period before World War I, is called "Mamba" by the locals, which is the name of a deadly snake. Despised by the locals and the European settlers alike for his greed and arrogance, Bolte forces the beautiful daughter of a destitute nobleman to marry him in exchange for saving her father from ruin. Upon her arrival in Africa, she falls in love with an officer in the local German garrison. When World War I breaks out, Bolte, unable to avoid being conscripted, foments a rebellion among the local natives. Written by
The film screened in the United States for the first time since its theatrical run in March 2012 at Cinefest in Syracuse, New York. This version was made by combining a print from Australia (with no soundtrack) and surviving Vitaphone soundtrack discs that had been preserved by the UCLA Film & Television Archive. See more »
Mostly forgotten today, Mamba was a sort of landmark in its day. It was one of the most bold films that the smaller studios, the so-called Poverty rows, ever made. It was a joint project of Tiffany and Color Art Productions. It had ornate costumes, realistic and spectacle sets, and claimed that it was the "First All Technicolor Drama."
Mamba didn't just have a scene or two colored, as did Dixiana, Rio Rita, Broadway Melody or the Great Gabbo. Money poor Mamba was more ambitious than those films. Mamba was filmed in 2-strip Technicolor from beginning to end. It may well have been the first sound feature to have had such a grand treatment. When the film opened at the Gaiety Theatre in New York, it caused a sensation, breaking the two-week box office at the theater.
Apparently, the color was outstanding with lush greens and excellent flesh tones. Overwhelmed by its Technicolor effects, the critics of the day gave the movie and its stars excellent reviews, pointing out how the film appealed to both men and women alike because of its Jungle theme and the beauty and the beast aspect of the romance.
According to the director, Albert Rogell, while in production Mamba kept running out of money. In order to fool, the creditors, the production kept two sets of identical costumes available so that the cast and crew could keep working on the production.
While this cash poor production may have been a grand success in 1930, Father Time has finally collected the bill on this historic landmark film. It exists today only in fragments. Too bad an identical master copy wasn't keep in the vaults.
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