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The Silent Enemy (1930)

A documentary about the life of Indians in Northern Canada.



(story), (scenario) | 1 more credit »

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Credited cast:
Chief Yellow Robe ...
Chetoga, tribe leader
Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance ...
Baluk, mighty hunter
Chief Akawanush ...
Dagwan, medicine man
Mary Alice Nelson Archambaud ...
Neewa, Chetoga's daughter
Cheeka ...
Cheeka, Chetoga's son
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mali Spotted Elk


Food is getting scarce for the tribe, and the chief must choose between the advice of Baluk to go north to the caribou herds, or the conniving medicine man Dagwan to stay put. On the way north they endure great hardship, and the conflict between Baluk and Dagwan deepens. It doesn't help that both want to marry the chief's daughter. Written by Robert Tonsing <rob_tonsing@msn.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis








Release Date:

2 August 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Silent Enemy: An Epic of the American Indian  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(MovieTone) (talking sequence)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Contains one of the very first zoom lens shots in cinema. See more »


Referenced in The Life of the Party (1930) See more »


Rain Flower
Written by Sam Coslow and Newell Chase
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User Reviews

Hunger, Hunger, Hunger
11 January 2017 | by (Crystal Palace) – See all my reviews

The makers of this dramatized documentary about the Ojibway Indians following in the footsteps of 'Nanook of the North' returned after a year in Northern Ontario with 25,000 feet of silent footage shot by the veteran Hollywood cameraman Marcel Le Picard which it had then taken another year to cut and assemble, by which time the silent film had long since become a thing of the past. Before Paramount could release it, 'The Silent Enemy' was therefore transformed into a part-talkie through the addition of a short opening speech to camera by Chief Yellow Robe, who had played Chetoga in the film, along with a synchronised organ score.

As usual the villain of the piece is the witch doctor, and as previous reviewers have commented some of the scenes had to have been staged for the makers to have been able to have had their cameras in the right place at the right time; and some of the wildlife is extremely roughly treated (including a couple of extremely cute bear cubs that the hero has just orphaned) in a way that would draw screams today from the American Humane Association.

The title by the way refers to hunger.

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