5.9/10
293
8 user 10 critic

In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914)

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, ... See full summary »

Director:

Writer:

(story)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Way Down East (1920)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A naive country girl is tricked into a sham marriage by a wealthy womanizer, then must rebuild her life despite the taint of having borne a child out of wedlock.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Mrs. David Landau
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Objected to date his sweetheart by his uncle, a young man turns his thoughts to murder.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Henry B. Walthall, Spottiswoode Aitken, Blanche Sweet
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A small town girl finds escape from her cruel home life in the arms of a handsome stranger. Soon she finds herself working as a prostitute in New Orleans, desperately clinging to the belief that he really loves her.

Directors: Walter Lang, Dorothy Davenport
Stars: Priscilla Bonner, Nellie Bly Baker, Carl Miller
Anna Christie II (1930)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young woman reunites with her estranged father and falls in love with a sailor, but struggles to tell them about her dark past.

Director: Jacques Feyder
Stars: Greta Garbo, Theo Shall, Hans Junkermann
Certificate: Passed Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The struggles of a hardscrabble Iranian nomadic tribe as they journey through bleak country to reach the grasslands that will save their livestock.

Directors: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack
Stars: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Marguerite Harrison
Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Young Pauline is left a lot of money when her wealthy uncle dies. However, her uncle's secretary has been named as her guardian until she marries, at which time she will officially take ... See full summary »

Directors: Louis J. Gasnier, Donald MacKenzie
Stars: Pearl White, Crane Wilbur, Paul Panzer
Anna Christie I (1930)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A young woman reunites with her estranged father and falls in love with a sailor, but struggles to tell them about her dark past.

Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Greta Garbo, Charles Bickford, George F. Marion
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A portrait of the life, culture and food surrounding the lovers of Polka music. The title is taken from an old Polka standard. Stars of the Polka world are highlighted.

Director: Les Blank
The Grim Game (1919)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Jailed unjustly for a murder he did not commit, a young man uses his amazing powers of escape to free himself and pursue the actual killers, who hold his fiancée captive.

Director: Irvin Willat
Stars: Harry Houdini, Thomas Jefferson, Ann Forrest
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A modest man unknowingly has a baby with a woman from a affluent family.Through a series of coincidences he is reunited with his daughter, forcing the family to confront its secrets.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Baby Peggy, Gladys Hulette, Frank Currier
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Three men hammer on an anvil and pass a bottle of beer around.

Director: William K.L. Dickson
Stars: Charles Kayser, John Ott
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After the Portuguese government demolishes his slum and relocates him to a housing project on the outskirts of Lisbon, 75-year-old Cape Verde immigrant Ventura wanders between his new and ... See full summary »

Director: Pedro Costa
Stars: Ventura, Vanda Duarte, Beatriz Duarte
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Stanley Hunt ...
Motana
Sarah Constance Smith Hunt ...
Naida / A Na'nalalal Dancer
Mrs. George Walkus ...
Naida / Sorceress
Paddy 'Malid ...
Kenada
Balutsa ...
Waket / Yaklus
Kwagwanu ...
Sorcerer
Francine Hunt ...
Clam digger / Captive / Wedding Dancer
Bob Wilson ...
Fisherman who drops a paddle on the rocks
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Awidi ...
Extra
Alfred Charlie ...
Extra
Edit

Storyline

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 ...

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 December 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

In the Land of the War Canoes  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Milestone)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Hiawatha (1913) also included a Native American cast a year before in 1913 and shared the same composer--John J. Braham. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Doors (1991) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
As Historical Document, Valuable; As Film, So-So
20 July 2014 | by (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – See all my reviews

Okay, first off, check the date - "In the Land of the Head Hunters" is a reconstructed and remastered print of a film made in 1914, by Edward S. Curtis, known mostly now as a photographer and ethnographer. As such, it is entirely of its time - i.e., racist, sexist and certainly specious in its depiction of a First Nations people. But valuable for all of that. The story line, for what it's worth, concerns a young son of a tribal chief who does his manhood rituals, falls in love and marries the daughter of another tribe's chieftain; this upsets the Sorceror, brother of yet another tribal chief who wanted the girl for himself - mayhem ensues, mostly in canoes but also on land, until eventually the good guy prevails. It's simplistic and definitely racist

  • the people are portrayed as quaintly primitive, the women are


completely subservient to the men, and the main occupation of the tribes involves war and cutting off the heads of enemies.

Given that this is actually set in the Pacific Northwest, between Washington State, USA, and British Columbia, Canada, the whole head- hunting aspect is completely off. Not to mention the "primitive" label
  • these peoples were highly sophisticated, just not in a form


recognized (at the time) by Europeans. But the positives in this film are quite striking too. First of all, the actors are all actual members of the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation, from Vancouver Island, and the costumes, totem poles and especially the special dances are all authentic. The story, by white director Curtis, is worthless; as a bit of filmed historical information, however, the movie is quite valuable. Many scenes were lost over the past 100 years, and the restorers opted to insert still photographs (also by Curtis, of the same people) to bridge the gaps, which doesn't work all that well dramatically, but is again useful as an historical artifact; they also were able to restore the original orchestral soundtrack, which adds drama to this silent movie. Certainly not for everyone, but film historians and anthropologists might find something of value here.


5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?