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Masters of the Congo Jungle (1958)
"Les seigneurs de la forêt" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Documentary  |  24 December 1958 (France)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 32 users  
Reviews: 3 user

Documentary showing the struggles of the inhabitants--both human and animal--of what was then called the Belgian Congo.


(narrative), (narrative), 1 more credit »
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Title: Masters of the Congo Jungle (1958)

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Credited cast:
Récitant / Narrator (French version) (voice)
Georges Aminel ...
Récitant / Narrator (French version) (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bert Brauns ...
Narrator Dutch language
Jørn Jeppesen ...
(Danish narrator)
Herman Niels ...
Narrator Dutch version
Henning Pade ...
(Danish narrator)
William Warfield ...
Narrator, English Language Version (voice)
Narrator, English Language Version (voice)


Documentary showing the struggles of the inhabitants--both human and animal--of what was then called the Belgian Congo.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You Are There Too...Exploring Nature's Lost World!!




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Release Date:

24 December 1958 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Masters of the Congo Jungle  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

True Character Of Congo Exposed During Closing Years Of Colonial Period.
7 July 2007 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

Here is a large portion from a meritorious cinematic record, produced by Belgian documentarian Henri Storck, and shot over a two year period during 1958/9, of a generally unknown region within the Belgian Congo, one little inscribed through change, an anthropologically seasoned film benefiting from sponsorship given by King Leopold III of Belgium beneath the auspices of that nation's splendid International Scientific Foundation. Eminent zoologist Heinz Sielmann shares both directing and writing responsibilities with Henry Brandt, the pair capably assisted by a team of German cameramen who have compiled a good deal of unusual footage from within the large East African forested section of the erstwhile Belgian colony, subsequently to be designated as Zaire, along with fragments of Rwanda and Burundi. One of two attractively packaged and thoroughly interesting assemblages of nature-in-the-raw flavoured cultural documentation created by Sielmann (the other: VANISHING WILDERNESS), this work depicts complex interplay between indigenous peoples and wildlife, within what is now referred to as the Democratic Republic of Congo, an area concentered by an active volcanic range, jungle and savanna flanking it upon either side, the work featuring special diversion offered to viewers by means of staged folkways of local tribal forest residents. Scenes of unique behaviour on display from jungle fauna are interlaced with those of local natives who strive to establish mystical connections between animals and men; additionally, one of the strongest contributions representative of Sielmann's craft is a result of his 18 months of filming various gorilla family groups, a groundbreaking project that resulted in altering a widespread perception held of this simian from a merely dangerous beast into a very social and rather peaceable creature. The animal sphere also furnishes memorable episodes of such as an aardvark, nocturnally photographed while utilizing its spearlike two foot long tongue to seize and ingest large numbers of termite ants, and a hornbill that interns its mate inside of a tree, by means of mud daubing, for three months following birth of their young, an act of imprisonment symbolically applied within marital customs of regional tribes. An English language version of the film, entitled MASTERS OF THE CONGO JUNGLE (based upon a claim of local natives that "We are the lords of the forest") employs a tandem of stentorian voiced narrators, Orson Welles and William Warfield, providing more than enough basso tone to produce a dramatic accounting of the filmed activity, in spite of a written text by hack Joe Wills that is beleaguered with his regrettable tendency to compose phantasma from rather pedestrian activities of local denizens, although Welles adds welcome humour.

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