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Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927)

Passed  |   |  Adventure, Documentary  |  3 September 1927 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 560 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 14 critic

Elephants disrupt the lives of a family deep in the jungles of Northern Siam, and an entire village.

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Title: Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927)

Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Natives of the Wild ...
Themselves
Wild Beasts ...
Themselves
The Jungle ...
Itself
Kru ...
Chantui ...
Nah ...
Nah - Son and Heir of the House of Kru
Ladah ...
Their Little Girl
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bimbo the Monkey
Namul
Than ...
A Friend from the Lao Village
Edit

Storyline

Kru is a pioneer, living deeper in the jungle of northern Siam than any of his predecessors. He solves the problems caused by leopards and tigers attacking his stock by setting traps and killing those beasts. A baby chang (the Siamese word for elephant) is caught in his trap, and thinking he would tame it so it will work for him one day, he tethers it to a post under his house, which is on stilts. Its mother comes and destroys his house. Kru and his family flee to the village, where a mammoth herd of elephants suddenly appear and decimates the buildings in the village. But the villagers fight back. Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

village | elephant | siam | trap | jungle | See All (27) »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

3 September 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chang  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$60 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(tinted and toned)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Merian C. Cooper was racked with malaria throughout the production. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not a Dead Document
19 February 2011 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Thanks to those other reviewers for filling in the background to what is now an antique-- but no less fascinating-- oddity. The movie reflects a time period when enterprising (and intrepid) filmmakers like Cooper and Schoedsack were discovering the audience potential for semi-documentaries showing exotic peoples and locales.

Here it's an adventure in northern Siam (Thailand). The rough storyline follows a Laotian family and villagers as they compete against a fierce jungle for livelihood. As expected, scenes are filled with wild beasts and clambering natives. Some scenes are obvious pandering —the gamboling monkey, the cute baby; others are pure spectacle—the rampaging elephant herd, the marauding big cats. Of course, much of the animal spectacle-- though not the killing-- is familiar in our age of 24-hour cable TV. Still, seeing how the natives cope under primitive conditions remains fascinating.

A couple points, I think, are worth noting. Though the exact locale is not pin-pointed on a map, the location appears roughly within what has since become known notoriously as The Golden Triangle (northern convergence of Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam). Whatever its status in 1927, the Triangle has grown into one of the world's biggest sources of heroin-grade opium. I can't help wondering whether the advance of a money economy has since turned villagers like those of the movie into cash-crop farmers.

Also, the movie's theme writes confidently of the jungle's permanent presence. Eighty years later with new waves of extractive technology, and I wonder if that permanence is as assured now as it was then. Looks to me like the rainforests are under industrial siege and may well be losing their presence in the face of human advancement. A rather ironical turn of events.

Neither of these points is meant to detract from the overall excellence of the film. However, I don't think the movie should be viewed as a dead historical document. Instead, it can be used as an informative lens for looking at the age-old struggle between man and nature.


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