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The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
What happened with this movie?
Well, on paper, an interesting concept, and a solid, reliable cast was brought together. Nothing wrong with the locations. But what in the world happened during the filming of this movie? It is an example of one of the worst-case scenarios of best-laid plans gone terribly wrong. Oh, well, even the best ideas sometimes suffer from poor execution. The plot was thin, basically non-existent, and the acting was surprisingly flat. The directing was mediocre at best. The editing was choppy, and the acting may have suffered from poor directing and the near absence of plot, and an uninspired screenplay. There was not one funny scene. Not even one scene worth watching, with the possible exception of the "surprise" appearance of Bill Murray missing the train. But that was at the very beginning, and everything else went nowhere or downhill from there. A remarkably disappointing film.
Trader Horn (1931)
An Amazing Adventure in Africa
I woke up in the middle of the night in my apartment in New York City, turned on Turner Classic Movies, and here is this amazing adventure in Africa captured on film that deserves a "10" for tremendous.
What an effort making this movie must have been for everyone involved. The sheer magnitude of the undertaking is something that would never get produced today. Only though the magic looking glass of film can we witness fiction and nonfiction brought together on such scale.
For kids who love "Star Wars" or "Lord of the Rings" or the new crop of video-game movies, imagining what it was like for the cast and crew of "Trader Horn" to accomplish what they did is something entirely different. There's nothing digital here; it's all real. You can SMELL the animals on the plains of the old (and gone) Africa, a brutal and far more primordial place than it is today, all filmed without CGI or green-screen gimmickry.
The cast includes Harry Carey in the title role (who performed in more than 250 films) along with the arrestingly beautiful young actress, Edwina Booth, playing a bizarre White Goddess, and who, like many of the cast and crew, was so wiped out and sick from what must have been grindingly grueling conditions on location in Africa, in 1930, that it basically ended her acting career. Two of the crew died during filming; one consumed by crocodiles, and one native boy charged by a rhino in a scene captured and kept in the film. Duncan Renaldo (who played the Cisco Kid years later on television) adds another dimension to the ensemble of the four leading players, completed by Mutia Omoolu, a native African playing Trader Horn's gun bearer in the only role of his life, plus hundreds of extras and other African actors whose names are lost to history.
Fortunately, the remarkable effort of the people who created "Trader Horn" is not lost. Today, and for generations to come, we can experience this truly amazing adventure in Africa and "miracle of pictures."