In 1911, as part of his massive undertaking, famed Northwest photographer Edward S. Curtis travelled to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to visit the Kwakwaka'wakw. By the next year, ...
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The sound has been found in the form of an old Edisonian recording cylinder. The cylinder was repaired, then Walter Murch ACE MPSE synced the film to the correct music in (I believe) 2002. Total running time is approximately 17 seconds.
In 1911, as part of his massive undertaking, famed Northwest photographer Edward S. Curtis travelled to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, to visit the Kwakwaka'wakw. By the next year, needing money for his project and to add to his research and still photography work, Curtis decided that the best way to record the traditional way of life and ceremonies of the Kwakwaka'wakw was to make one of the first feature motion pictures. Curtis had already shot footage in 1906 of the Hopi Snake dance, which he had previously showed during his talks, but this was to be on a grander scale. It took three years of preparation for this one film including the weaving of the costumes; building of the war canoes, housefronts, poles; and the carving of masks. Assisting on the film was George Hunt, a Kwakwaka'wakw who had served as an interpreter for the famous anthropologist Franz Boas nearly twenty years before. Hunt helped contribute substantial portions of the film's story as well. Selected for the ...
Land of the War Canoes is a black and white silent film remastered in 1973. Mainly they added a sound track. All the dialogue is in Kwakiutl without subtitles. The film is in terrible shape. It needs modern day digital retouching to fix the wildly fluctuating exposure levels and age damage.
It is a surprisingly long film. The plot is two tribes warring over a female. It has sorcery, head hunting, whale hunting, many tipped canoes.
The best parts are the athletic dancers in clever costumes to mimic various birds, animals and insects.
Everybody looks the same, so it hard to keep track of who is fighting whom.
The main value of the film is how alien it is. None of the attitudes, dress, food, customs... is familiar. The beauty of the film comes from the many elegant war canoes.
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