Gold (1934 film)
Gold is a 1934 German science fiction film directed by Karl Hartl. The film involves a British scientist who is attempting to create a device that turns base materials into gold. He later forces the German scientist's assistant Werner Holk (Hans Albers), who was working on a similar experiment, to come to his underwater nuclear reactor to help him. Gold was made in both German-language and French-language versions with Brigitte Helm reprising her role in both.
|Directed by||Karl Hartl|
|Written by||Rolf E. Vanloo|
|Edited by||Wolfgang Becker|
|Music by||Hans-Otto Borgmann|
A German scientist has discovered a theoretical means of transforming lead into gold. Working with his engineer Werner Holk (Hans Albers), he is literally moments from proving his theory when the lab is blown up by a saboteur. Holk is then hired by the British capitalist who ordered the sabotage and goes to Scotland to see his friend's work recreated on a massive scale in a secret laboratory beneath the North Sea. Swearing revenge, he agrees to help the millionaire and even fraudulently "creates" a bit of gold to fortify the illusion that the machine works. Gaining the confidence of the millionaire's somewhat wayward daughter Florence (Brigitte Helm) as well as the workers, Holk puts together a plan to destroy the machine before the artificial gold it would create can wreak havoc on the world economy. The first day of the machine's operation, Holk manages to turn the workers against the millionaire (thus ensuring they'll all get away safely), then only barely escapes himself before the lab is blown up in a spectacular sequence of explosions and strobe lighting.
Director Karl Hartl developed Gold after the international success of his previous science fiction film Der Tunnel. Gold was the studio Universum Film AG's superproduction of that time and reportedly took 14 months to shoot. Actor Hans Albers sued the production asking for nearly double his salary but lost the case. During this production time, a French-language version of the film was also made which kept Brigitte Helm as the lead actress but changed many of the supporting characters roles. L'Or was the French-language version of the film that was shot simultaneously with it. Serge de Poligny directed the scenes in French with the scripted adapted to French by Jacques Thierry.
Gold premiered in Berlin at the Ufa-Palast am Zoo theater on 29 March 1934. The French-language version was shown on 1 June 1934. When the film was reviewed by the Allied Censorship boards after World War II, the viewers pondered whether German scientists had been able to build a nuclear reactor long before it was originally thought they did. Parts of the stock footage scenes in Gold were later used again in the 1953 American film The Magnetic Monster.
In 1934, the New York Times gave the film a positive review stating "So well is this mixture of pseudo science, love and near-love photographed that persons ignorant of German need have no fear of inability to follow the action of "Gold" and "the audience is kept interested in the steps leading up to the dénouement, despite the inordinate length of the film." Wonder Stories praised Gold as "a masterful scientifilm fantasy". Film Daily declared the film to be an "Entertaining drama [...] has good cast and is essentially interesting form the technical angle."
Variety reviewed the French-language L'Or stating that the film "depends for is effect on sensational machinery - a Frankenstein electric machine to make synthetic gold - and such makes a certain impression.... Aside from that, pic is commonplace."
- "Gold". Filmportal.de. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
- Hull, 1969. p.56
- Hull, 1969. p.57
- Erickson, Hal. "Gold". Allmovie. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
- Pitts 2018, p. 148.
- "L'Or". Filmportal.de. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
- "Gold (1934) A German Gold-Making Film". New York Times. 22 October 1934. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
- "Movie Review", Wonder Stories, February 1935, p.1147
- Pitts 2018, p. 94.