Massacre at Marble City Review
From The Spaghetti Western Database
- Massacre at Marble City (Die Goldsucher von Arkansas) - See Database Page
In Marble City a Mescalero Apache pays for a whiskey with a few gold nuggets. Before he can reveal the location of the gold vein, he is shot by his own chief, who's afraid the rumors about gold will jeopardize the safety of his people. What he feared, inevitably happens: a wagon train brings hundreds of gold seekers to the region and soon a war between the Indians and the fortune hunters is about to break out. Two young men try to keep the peace: a rancher who's looking for the murderer of his father and a trapper who's a personal friend of the Mescalero Apaches.
This is the middle part of a trilogy (very) loosely based on the works of German author of adventure novels Friedrich Gerstäcker, following Pirates of the Mississippi, followed by The Black Eagle of Santa Fe. The rumors about gold are only briefly referred to in the novel, which tells a story about horse thieves who are tracked down by a group of regulators (vigilantes). The storyline was based on authentic events in territorial Arkansas, but the historical accuracy was completely lost in this adaptation, which seems to be modeled as closely as possible to the Karl May movies. The role of the Mescalero Apaches, who finally come to the rescue of the citizens of Marble City, is similar in both the book and the movie (1). Although Gerstäcker's stories were more authentic than those of his famous rival Karl May, they seem to have shared the same romantic ideas about the noble savage.
Massacre at Marble City was a German-French-Italian co-production, but it was shot in former Checkoslovakia. Lots of Czechoslovakian actors and actresses appear in minor roles, among them Olga Schoberová (Olinka Berova), a sex symbol, often compared to Brigitte Bardot and Ursula Andress; she met muscle man Brad Harris on the set and the two would be a couple in the years to come (2). The movie is populated with familiar western faces, but Horst Frank is cast as a goody instead of a baddy and Ralf Wolter (Sam Hawkins from the Winnetou movies) and Joseph Egger (the Prophet from For a Few Dollars More) are trying to be funny, but have no witty lines to work with. Egger has one funny scene as a barber. Made with a fairly high budget, Massacre at Marble City has hundreds of extras riding around on the grasslands (dressed as Indians) or falling from rocks or buildings (dressed as victims), but lacks all structure or style. Director Martin would do a lot better one year later with the musical comedy western Count Bobby, the terror of the West, which was at least an enjoyable piece of fluff. No wonder: he was a veteran of German genre cinema, specialized in comedies and musicals.
- (1) http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=4844
- (2) http://www.glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com/show/25/Olinka+Berova/index.html