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
This was the sixth feature-length talkie to be produced in color, after On with the Show! (1929) and Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929). Three other all-color talkies were in production at the same time, all of them musicals. It was the first such project that was not a musical, and the first not to be produced by Warner Bros. See more »
From a time when smoking was still good for you and political correctness was unheard of, comes Mamba. The simple but perfectly engaging plot cracks along at a reasonable pace even by modern standards, and the cast make a fine show of their transition from silent film to one of the first ever 'talkies'. The richness of the colouring is staggering given the technical limitations of the studio in its year of production, 1929.
In the screening I saw there was one deleted scene, which was apparently removed by censors in 1930 (the year of Mamba's release) – the sound for this section remained however, and was played over a number of 'stills' taken from elsewhere in the film. This had the effect of emphasising that the films dialogue was somewhat stilted, which is perhaps understandable given this was one of the earliest efforts of talking films. From the sound in this section it was evident that the cut scene might have been considered a bit too intimate for the day.
Shown in its entirety in Melbourne at The Astor in November 2011 – presumed to be the first screening of this film on the big screen for almost 80 years. Years ahead of its time – a must see for all film fans now that it is finally available for viewing again.
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