Hear the hoof-beats of the gnus and see a young boy chased down and killed by a lion (sans the screams)was what "Africa Speaks!" promised, and delivered. Filmed on the Colorado African Expedition of 1928, headed by Paul L. Hoefler, this film rose above the 'jungle-graph' films of the past---"Chang" excepted---because of the sound and not the views of the Dark Continent offered, albeit most of these were new views that some of the critics debated over whether or not some of them were staged. It contained: a locust swarm that devoured everything but the expedition camera; a visit to the duck-billed pygmy tribe in which the females of the tribe had discs inserted beneath their lips when very young and, as they grow older, larger discs replace the previous discs; an antelope---called and spelled illampa in the film---that jumps forty feet backward or forward when frightened and some slow-motion shots are used. "Africa Speaks!" showed Africa to be both dangerous and noisy. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
In 1930 RCA Victor released 'African Serenade', described on the label as "based on native rhythms as heard in Columbia picture Africa Speaks". It was written by Harry DeCosta and Nathaniel Shilkret and recorded by The Victor Orchestra under Shilkret with vocal refrain by Frank Luther. The disc can be heard at The Internet Archive site. See more »
In some ways, there is a lot to like about this documentary. After all, it's one of the film to use sound footage--after many previous silent African safari films. In addition, the footage is excellent--well filmed and not chock full of stock footage like some documentaries. I liked seeing and learning about the pygmy tribes and the various animals. However, at the same time, there is an often annoying narration. Too often, the narrator tries to sound clever--making terribly unfunny jobs and supposedly glib comments. But they all come off badly and seem, at times, a bit condescending towards the subject matter--though I must also admit that the narration about the pygmies is not. It's really a shame, as with better narration, this would have been an exciting film to watch---especially since I learned some wonderful things about the animals and people of this continent....when I wasn't groaning at the narration! If you want to see it, follow the link on IMDb and you can copy it free to your hard drive since it's in the public domain.
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