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Eskimo (1933)

Passed | | Drama | 10 January 1934 (USA)
The happy life of an Eskimo is disastrously changed when he mingles with an unscrupulous white trader.

Director:

W.S. Van Dyke

Writers:

John Lee Mahin (translated to the screen by), Peter Freuchen (from the books "Der Eskimo" and "Die Flucht ins weisse Land")
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Edgar Dearing ... Constable Balk (uncredited)
Peter Freuchen ... Captain (uncredited)
Edward Hearn ... Captain's Mate (uncredited)
Lotus Long ... Iva (uncredited)
Mala ... Mala, aka Kripik (uncredited)
Joe Sawyer ... Sergeant Hunt (uncredited)
Harold Seabrook Harold Seabrook ... Minor Role (uncredited)
W.S. Van Dyke ... Inspector White (uncredited)
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Storyline

Mala leads a contented life as the best hunter in his Canadian Arctic tribe, providing meat, fish and birds with his great skill. When another tribe member returns from trading furs with the white men for items such as a gun and an iron needle, Mala's wife, Aba, urges him to make the 500-mile trek across the frozen tundra to do the same. After the long night of winter, Mala does go with his family to the white man's "floating house" in Tjarnak. The friendly captain makes trade for Mala's excellent furs, but upsets Mala when he insists that Aba sleep with him that night. "He didn't even ask me!" Mala complains. Afterwards, the captain suggests that Mala go whale hunting and promises not to touch his wife, so Mala agrees. But news of a successful catch spurs a celebration on board ship, and the captain has Aba forcibly removed from her tent, plied with liquor, and then he rapes her. In the morning, the still-drunk Aba staggers from the ship, but collapses in the snow, where she is ... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Inuktitut

Release Date:

10 January 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Esquimó See more »

Filming Locations:

near, Teller, Alaska, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$950,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film's initial telecast took place in Honolulu Friday 7 June 1957 on KHVH (Channel 13), where it soon became a popular favorite and enjoyed repeated telecasts in the months that followed; elsewhere, aged and forgotten, with an unknown cast, sponsor interest was minimal and it was only occasionally taken off the shelf in the less predominant markets. It first aired in Norfolk VA 7 July 1957 on WTAR (Channel 3), in San Francisco 11 January 1958 on KGO (Channel 7), in Cincinnati 13 March 1958 on WLW-T (Channel 5), in Adams MA 18 March 1958 on WCDC (Channel 19), in Spokane 13 April 1958 on KHQ (Channel 6), in Cleveland 29 April 1958 on KYW (Channel 3), in Albuquerque 26 June 1958 on KOAT (Channel 7), in Tucson 14 July 1958 on KVOA (Channel 4), in Akron 30 November 1958 on WAKR (Channel 49), and in Salt Lake City 14 April 1959 on KTVT (Channel 4). Today it's lodged in the Turner Classic Movies film library, but still only rarely taken out for an airing on cable TV on TCM, despite a deservedly high rating by vintage film enthusiasts because of its unique and valuable documentation of a moment of time now nearly a century long past. See more »

Connections

Featured in MGM: When the Lion Roars: The Lion's Roar (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Night on Bald Mountain
(1867) (uncredited)
Excerpt music by Modest Mussorgsky
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Trumps Nanook (which I love also)
4 March 2009 | by flanagleSee all my reviews

Here I thought "Nanook of the north" was the last word in archaic semi-doc 'eskimo' movies. How wrong! As an avid sea-kayaker I stayed up till 330am to watch this hoping to get a glimpse of some hand-made 'skin-boats'. The movie did not let me down. Any student of kayak/umiak construction should have a look-see here. (Note to fellow SKers: they appear to be using Norton Sound kayaks with single blade paddles).

But the film went way beyond this admittedly narrow interest. Even though there were as others have noted some little back-shot-fakey-bits the movie has so much heart they are just a minor annoyance. It was (from this very amateur anthropologist's viewpoint) probably the perfect time to make this movie. Early thirties: the 'talkies' are so new that they (including Louie B. Mayer!) actually let the Inuit speak in their own tongue. And there is so much that was still, despite the infused melodrama, authentic. They are really whacking that polar bear, that whale and those caribou. A fifties version of this film would have been so cheesy with 'stars', Technicolor, etc. to gum it up. The seventies version? Don't even. A very good companion piece to this excellent movie is "White shadows in the south seas" (1928) Geograpically the mirror image to "Eskimo" it also deals with the relentless and profound disruption of Western culture/technology on an unsuspecting people.


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