Karl Hartl – Gold (1934)

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From “Film in the Third Reich” By David Stewart Hull

Karl Hartl’s ‘Gold’ continued the science-fiction trend of the earlier,internationally successful ‘Der Tunnel’. The story concerns a rich British alchemist who is convinced that it is possible to obtain gold from base metals by means of a giant underwater atomic reactor which he has built off the coast of Scotland. A good German scientist has been working on the same project, but he is killed and his laboratory blown up in a mysterious explosion. His assistant (Hans Albers) is semi-kidnapped by the British scientist, and sets to work on a new machine…

‘Gold’ was UFA’s superproduction of the period, and reportedly took fifteen months to shoot. Albers sued for almost double his usual salary, but lost the case. The film was also made in a French version with Brigitte Helm, Pierre Blanchar, and Roger Karl, which helped to account for the long production period.

When the film was reviewed by an Allied censorship Board after the war, the viewers wondered whether German scientists had invented an atomic reactor long before they were supposed to have done so. An effort was made to seize every known print, and the film was put under a restricted category. It is even reported, on reliable authority, that a copy was flown to the United States to be viewed by atomic scientists to see if the machines could actually perform. Of course they were simply the product of the set designer’s imagination. Because of this incident, it was difficult to find a copy of this film until recently, and once film archive kept it “under the counter” for a long time.

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Language:German
Subtitles:English (hardsubbed)

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