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In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914)

5.9
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 158 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 1 critic

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)

In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914) on IMDb 5.9/10

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Maggie Frank ...
Princess (uncredited)
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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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Drama | History

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7 December 1914 (USA)  »

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In the Land of the Head Hunters  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Impossible to score, really...
25 October 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I really would not venture to give this silent film a score--it is not a film in the traditional sense and probably has very little value to the average viewer. However, at the same time it IS of tremendous value to anthropologists, ethnographers and the like, as it records a way of life that has long disappeared--even if the manner in which it is presented is less than satisfying.

In 1914, Edward S. Curtis released a documentary film about the Kwakiutl Indians--a tribe living near Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest. However, this film was later cut apart and pieced together in the early 1970s and music, sound effects and native dialog were clumsily added. I was not able to see the original version and I doubt if it is available (another reviewer said this is a restoration work in progress).

Style wise, the film is very old fashioned. Like only the early films, intertitle cards described (at length) what was about to happen in the following scenes instead of telling as or after the events occurred. This made viewing a tad tedious. Also, the story about Indian wars and violence seemed artificial (as it was) and I have no idea if the Kwakiutl ever hunted heads or behaved the way they do in the film--as instead of a true documentary, the end product is a romanticized version of the tribe. This damages the value of the film for professors from the University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania and the like--all schools that have large and well-respected Ethnographic/Anthropological Studies departments. But, at the same time, as it DOES show native dances, costumes, animal costumes and the like, it is like gold to these same people. To the average non-academic, however, the films are probably of little lasting interest--though I know that this would disappoint many.

To me, this was mildly interesting as I am a true cinemaniac and my daughter studies this sort of stuff in college and has infused some of her enthusiasm in me....a bit. But, I certainly would not like a steady diet of this sort of film. As for me, I prefer later and better presented films like "Nanook of the North".


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