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Alexandra Delli Colli,
A photographer on assignment in the rain forest is ambushed and held slave by a primitive tribe, until the chief's daughter chooses him as her groom. After being initiated by various tortures, he becomes a part of the tribe and helps them against modern dangers and a cannibal tribe they're at war with. Written by
Umberto Lenzi was heavily influenced by the American western A Man Called Horse (1970) when making this film. The plots of the two films are nearly identical, and the English title for this film, "Man from Deep River", is even supposed to echo the title "A Man Called Horse". See more »
Historically important entry in the development of Italian exploitation movies
Deep River Savages is most famous for being the first of the Italian cannibal movies. This sub-genre is pretty notorious and a lot of the films made the video nasty list (films considered obscene by the British authorities in early the 80's). This movie was one of the ones that did and it's not really very surprising on account of several scenes of real animal slaughter and one showing cannibals rape and eat an unfortunate victim. But the cannibal tag is a little misleading in the case of Deep River Savages because the cannibals are fairly minor characters here. It seems though that their brief appearance was the idea that led to the cycle of cannibal movies that would appear in the late 70's / early 80's. More accurately, this film is an Italian version of A Man Called Horse, which had come out a couple of years beforehand. In that one a white man is captured by Native American Indians and has to go through various trials and rituals before finally assimilating into the tribe, Deep River Savages effectively does the same thing but with primitive South East Asian tribes. It also ramps up the exploitation angle.
The story has a photographer working in Thailand who is forced to flee into the jungle after he kills a man in self-defence. He is soon captured by a primitive tribe who eventually take him in as one of their own after various trials and rituals. He falls in love with one of the young women of the tribe; meanwhile an enemy tribe of cannibals prowl menacingly in the periphery.
This one was helmed by Umberto Lenzi who was one of the most prominent directors of the cannibal sub-genre, going on to make films such as Eaten Alive. The two main stars of that one appear in this earlier film too, namely Ivan Rassimov and Me Me Lai. They are pretty good and quite surprisingly their romantic sub-plot is quite extensively developed. This and the culture clash elements make up much more of the movie than the cannibal aspect. This might disappoint a few people who come into this expecting something akin to the likes of Cannibal Holocaust, as despite some legitimately disturbing moments this is far less intense than later entries in the sub-genre. It's not a bad film though and is one well worth checking out if you enjoy Italian exploitation movies. It's certainly one with a fair bit of historical importance for sure.
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