Mamba (1930) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
8 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
MAMBA exists! complete 78 mins 35mm 2 strip Technicolor
ptb-823 March 2008
The comment from film library below is true and it is one of the most important discoveries in lost cinema. MAMBA is found intact and in color and on 35mm and the print exists here in Australia. In the tech specs info for this film, there were two main versions made, as silent one and two sound versions such was the transition of the time.... a photo-phone sound one and another sound version with the Vitaphone talking gramophone discs. This version discovered here is the sound-disc version and some discs exist here and some with a collector in the US. I now have been fortunate enough to actually see ALL of the film and the color is glorious: peacock colors and opalescent tangerine reds and cobalt blues... and excellent jungle colors and military uniforms... What a find! the sound is now matched and restoration imminent.....applause to our friends Murray and Pat xx

The re-discovery of a complete 35mm tech print of MAMBA is a major event for the world to now we can share it: Talkie Historian Jonas Nordin and Myself PAUL BRENNAN with the assistance of the fabulous Astor theatre St Kilda (Melbourne) re presented MAMBA on a huge movie screen for the first time in 80- years on Nov 21st 2011. It was a gala night with hundreds in attendance who thrilled to the slideshow of the history of Tiffany productions then saw the whole 78 minute print with matched sound from the 9 discs held by UCLA. It was their office who assisted in providing the whole soundtrack in which we also found a censored sequence. MAMBA will have a US premiere in March 2012 courtesy of the Vitaphone Project office.
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Lost Landmark Production
Diosprometheus25 July 2006
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.
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Back on the big screen!
Keithp7521 November 2011
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.
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Complete film exists and awaits reconstruction
bbmtwist24 August 2010
To update the other reviews on this site, the film exists in its entirety in two-strip Technicolor. The owners also have five sound discs (5 through 8). UCLA possesses two reels (1,9) and all nine sound discs. Attempts are underway to combine these two sources and hopefully with UCLA's track record of superb restorations of early Technicolor films, MAMBA will soon be available for viewing once again for the first time in eighty years.

Initial viewing of reel five and almost all of reel six reveals a stellar performance by Jean Hersholt as the villainous bore, August Bolte, and a sensitive take by aristocratic Eleanor Boardman as Helen. Ralph Forbes is rather stiff and affected as the so-called hero, Karl Von Reiden. The colors are lovely - reds and greens predominate, but the flesh tones are quite authentic.

This seems to be a treasure, awaiting interest and funding for a proper restoration.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Mamba (1930)
filmlibrary-220 October 2006
I have just had the opportunity of viewing the complete 1930's Tiffany Production of "Mamba", starring Jean Hersholt, Eleanor Boardman and Ralph Forbes. Unfortunately, this was seen without the accompanying Vitaphone disc soundtrack, but due to having a copy of your Plot Summary this made it easy to follow the storyline. The early two-colour Technicolor was amazingly bright and made this screening a surprisingly pleasant experience.

I note in your Trivia notes that, according to the authors of Forgotten Horrors, "only about 12 minutes of silent footage remain." I can refute this information as there exists in Australia a complete 35mm version of this film, in good condition.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The first All-colour, All-talking movie ever made.
brianpearson-121 October 2016
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.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Movie Curio
GManfred14 August 2018
This film was shown at Capitolfest 2018, Rome, NY, in as complete a condition as it's going to get. The soundtrack has been corrected, missing pieces added (except for a sequence deemed offensive by the Australian Censors in the 30's) and it has been gussied up for public viewing. The restoration of "Mamba" is a story in itself.

"Mamba" is a rarity in that it is in color and produced by the now-defunct Tiffany studio, an independent which makes the fact it's in color even more remarkable. It is really not as bad as the website rating would indicate, it's just that the plot is a little far-fetched.

'Mamba' is the nickname of the despised civilian trader in the German East African jungle, hated both by the German and the British troops in the area. He decides he must have a bride to keep him company and bullies a debtor to marry his daughter back in Austria. On the trip back a German officer (Ralph Forbes) is smitten by her (Eleanor Boardman), and the movie takes on a life of its own. The main reason to see 'Mamba' apart from the technical acheivements is Jean Hershholt, who is outstanding in the role of the repugnant Bolte, the trader/husband in the title. There are also some rousing battle scenes which lend excitement to the story. It is worth seeing for the reasons mentioned. Shown at Capitolfest, Rome, NY 8/18.

7/10 - The website no longer prints my star ratings.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Dreadful film.
salvidienusorfitus31 January 2018
The acting is atrocious and the story is trite and predictable as to be expected from a poverty row studio. The portrayal of the Zulu natives is ridiculous and offensive especially in the final sequences which are utterly theatrical and unbelievable. Why this turkey was filmed in color is anyone's guess. I have to wonder if some of the reviewers here actually saw the film or were just excited because the film was photographed in color. If the film had been shot in black and white I'm pretty sure that even these color enthusiasts would agree this film is boring.The surviving color isn't very good as the film seemed to have many sequences which are too red and many scenes are out of focus. There is even one section where the film has been lost and only sound survives. If you want to see gorgeous early Technicolor I would suggest "Dixiana" 1930 or "Under A Texas Moon" 1930.
0 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed