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In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914)

5.9
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Original advertising for the film describes it as a drama of primitive life on the shores of the North Pacific... See full synopsis »

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Title: In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Stanley Hunt ...
Motana
Sarah Constance Smith Hunt ...
Naida and a Na'nalalal Dancer
Mrs. George Walkus ...
Naida and Sorceress
Paddy 'Malid ...
Kenada
Balutsa ...
Waket and Yaklus
Kwagwanu ...
Sorcerer
Francine Hunt ...
Clam digger, captive, wedding dancer
Bob Wilson ...
Fisherman who drops a paddle on the rocks
Maggie Frank ...
Naida (uncredited)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Awidi ...
Extra
Alfred Charlie ...
Extra
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Storyline

Original advertising for the film describes it as a drama of primitive life on the shores of the North Pacific... See full synopsis »

Add Full Plot | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

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Release Date:

7 December 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

In the Land of the War Canoes  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

The film makers must be crazy
22 October 2003 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

"The plotters, anticipating Motana's death, "mourn" him as his hair, stuffed into the bodies of toads, smokes over their fire" reads one of the title cards. This is, after all, a documentary about the Kwakiutl Indians. And yet, clearly, it is a directed story film. It's an unusual sort of film these days, limited to "novel and astonishing works of unprefigured genius" like THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY, but in reality, this is how documentaries started. Flaherty "cheated" by modern standards on NANOOK OF THE NORTH. CHANG has a story line imposed on it. While unedited footage of Kwakiutl Indians carving totem poles might have been a big draw in 1896, by 1914 the sophisticated filmgoer demanded more: a story line. And so we had this, by modern standard, odd .... well, call it a "mockumentary", but not in the sense of a Christopher Guest film. We see real Kwakiutls in real Kwakiutl regalia dancing real Kwakiutl war dances aboard real Kwakiutl war canoes. It's just that it's edited together and given titles to make it a story.

Interestingly, although a story film, this movie survives because it was saved at a couple of museums. So what can we make of it?

Well, make of it what you want. A feature film from the dawn of feature films; fascinating shots of Kwakiutl Indians when they still did these things. Do you want egg in your beer?


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