The story was bought by Universal in the 20s as a project for Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein, but was shelved when the studio and the director could not agree on the social aspects of the script. In the mid-80s another version was planned as a joint Canadian-French co-production by Moshe Mizrahi's Rosa Productions by New York-based Isram Film Corporation to be shot in the U.S. and Canada, but for reasons that are unclear it was not made. See more »
A historical mess....it's also pretty dull and episodic and nearly destroyed the studio!
"Sutter's Gold" is a notorious film as it cost a fortune to make and lost nearly every penny of the investment. Considering that Universal Studios was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, the timing couldn't have been worse! So why did it cost so much and why was it such a poor film? As for the cost, I frankly don't know how it cost $2,000,000 to make (a HUGE sum for the time), as the actors were mostly second or third-tier and the director a relative unknown. The money sure didn't go for salaries! Perhaps it was the scope of the film--as it was supposedly set all over the world. But most, if not all of these locations appeared to have been filmed on the Universal back lot! I just don't understand where all the money went!
As to why it's such a poor film, that's pretty easy to determine. The script was syrupy, overly sentimental and boring. That it was boring is because so much of the film comes off as episodic and disconnected. But that it was dull is a surprise because Sutter's life was pretty interesting when I read up on the man. I can only assume that this is because the script rarely bears much semblance to his actual life...and the prologue actually admits that it's mostly fiction! Regardless, it's not a terrible film but one that seems to go on and on and on....and the main character is, for the most part, a lying blowhard.
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