Prologue: The murderer "Boss" Huller - after having spent ten years in prison - breaks his silence to tell the warden his story. "Boss", a former trapeze artist, and his wife own a cheap ... See full summary »
Ewald André Dupont
Lya De Putti
A minister is malevolent and sinister behind his righteous facade. He consorts with, and later extorts from, the owner of a gambling house, and betrays an honest girl, eventually driving ... See full summary »
A standard screen B&W prologue during which Lowell Thomas shows how, from the dawn of history, mankind has attempted to create the illusion of depth & movement by artistic, mechanical and ... See full summary »
The real-life struggles of the Bakhtiari tribe of Southern Persia (Iran) to migrate with 50,000 people and ten times as much livestock over seemingly impassable natural barriers of mountain and river during harsh weather conditions to reach grazing lands for their cattle and other livestock. Their hardscrabble life is portrayed with poetically beautiful cinematography in possibly the greatest documentary of the silent era.Written by
Thanks TCM for bringing this piece of history to a broader audience. And what a slice of the past it is. This is living next to the land, in spades. That thousand-mile trek through Arabia and the Caucuses is not just long, but harrowing, as well. It's men, women, kids, donkeys, cattle, goats, sheep, all winding their way through impossible terrain, with a few skinny dogs tagging along. Sure, it seems they do it every year to get to the mountain grassland, but I can't see it ever gets any easier. When I backpack in the snow, I've got good warm boots and heavy socks—these folks, however, do it in, uh, bare feet!!!-- for better traction, I guess. Anyway, I'm still shivering from that footage. Then there's the river crossing. That alone is worth the price of admission. You've got to admire their herding prowess in the rapids with nothing more than inflated goatskins. In fact, I have a whole new appreciation for the lowly sheep and the gutsy herders who tend them.
As good as the footage is, questions do arise. What, for example, do they do with sick people. It seems they can't stop the trek, so I guess they just pack them along and hope for the best. Also, we don't see them eating along the way or building fires (if they do) or setting up tents. Instead, Cooper & Co. track the snaking caravans only, but then that's more than enough. However, someone should have given second thoughts to some of those ridiculous title cards. But all that is merely incidental to a filmed record of a people who reach far back in time, and ones I would be proud to have as forebears. Then again, I guess I won't be complaining about having to walk to the store, any time soon.
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