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Mamba (1930)

Passed | | Drama | 10 March 1930 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »


Albert S. Rogell (as Albert Rogell)


John Reinhardt (story), Ferdinand Schumann-Heink (story) (as F. Schumann-Heink) | 3 more credits »


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Cast overview:
Jean Hersholt ... August Bolte (Mamba)
Eleanor Boardman ... Helen von Linden
Ralph Forbes ... Karl von Reiden
Claude Fleming Claude Fleming ... Major Cromwell
Wilhelm von Brincken ... Major von Schultz (as William von Brincken)
Will Stanton ... Cockney Servant (as William Staunton)


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 frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A GRIPPING JUNGLE DRAMA ALL IN COLOR AND SOUND! (original poster - all caps) See more »










Release Date:

10 March 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Il serpente bianco See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System) (sound-on-disc)


Color (2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Negatives from the defunct Tiffany Pictures collection were most likely used for the burning of Atlanta in Gone with the Wind (1939), as nitrate ignites easily and there was a lot of it lying around. According to historian Jonas Nordin, the original negative for this film was probably among them, which would account for its loss. See more »

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User Reviews

The first All-colour, All-talking movie ever made.
21 October 2016 | by Brian PearsonSee all my reviews

This movie was the first all-talking all-colour movie ever made. Murray Matthews, a projectionist who is dedicated to the preservation of movies, projection equipment and cinema memorabilia, and his wife Pat own a complete print of 'Mamba' in remarkably good condition. In 2001, Pat discovered that the film was listed as lost except for fragments and notified the Vitaphone Project that they had a complete copy of the film and an incomplete set of sound disks, but almost no interest was shown by anyone in the USA.

In 2008, Sydney film historian Paul Brennan came to Adelaide especially to view the film. Realising its importance, he put in train restoration efforts which included enlisting the aid of another film historian, Swedish Jonas Nordin. He owned a complete set of the sound disks and undertook the complicated task of synchronizing them with the film, and making a digital version which was shown at a gala premiere on 21st November, 2011, in the Astor Theatre, Melbourne, when Murray, Pat and Paul were introduced to the acclamation of a delighted audience

The American Film Institute and the Australian National Film Archive have shown little interest in making the film widely available despite its historic importance and strong production values. It is a good and entertaining movie, with the great actor Jean Hersholt playing an African colonial villain despised alike by his German compatriots, British neighbours and the native population.

As was common in the early sound era, the film was released in both sound-on-film and sound-on-disk versions.

At the very least, 'Mamba' should be restored for BlueRay and added to the libraries of those world-wide enthusiasts for quality films and those like me who consider Technicolor to be the finest colour process of all. This two colour step in the path to the full three strip masterpieces shows how very pleasing it can be.

It is to the legion of film enthusiasts who preserved films destined for destruction while never misusing them for commercial purposes that we owe the existence today of many great movies of that golden era from the silents to the wide screen films of the mid twentieth century. We should all be grateful for their efforts.

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