At Rio Galdez's remote Brazilian trading post live assorted outcast Americans and Europeans, including Jerry Russell, ex-engineer who became obsessed with the Jivaro headhunters' treasure, quit his job, and took up with the bottle and local girl Maroa. But he still gets letters from his nominal fiancée in California, and unexpectedly the shapely, glamorous Alice Parker arrives, expecting to marry a rich planter. Disillusioned, Alice is almost ready to fall into Rio's arms when news comes that Jerry is missing in Jivaro country...Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is Mrs. Sheila Beers, writing with the permission of Barney Beers. I saw this movie on a black and white television as a child about 45-50 years ago, and I only can imagine how much better it is in color. However, through missionaries I had heard of the fierce Jivaro Indians, and I found "Jivaro" a compelling story. I still believe the film is much more than an adventure-romance story and that it has more to offer than viewers of the 1950s realized. Now that there is so much interest in saving the Brazilian rain forest, I believe "Jivaro" is even more relevant today. The theme is timeless, being the clash between primitive cultures and the modern world. Since New World exploration in the 1500s, the Jivaro Indians of South America were known as headhunters and cannibals, but a lesser known fact is that South America's richest gold deposits were (and still are) located in Jivaro territory. Although Brazil was settled by the Portuguese, the Spanish who settled Peru, Ecuador, and other countries that border Brazil, soon learned of the Jivaro's treasure and wanted the gold to defeat Protestantism in Europe. In spite of their primitive nature, the Jivaros (like other primitive tribes of South America) knew how to mine gold and refine it. Through their reputation as fierce headhunters and cannibals, the Jivaros protected their wealth. In the late 1500s the Spanish dared to build the city of Logrono, population 25,000, on the border of Brazil. The city provided housing for miners, settler families, and administrators who wanted to send the gold to Spain. Wanting to deflect the invaders, the Jivaros, armed only with spears and possibly blow guns and clubs, wiped out the city in 1599. They killed everyone but the young women they could assimilate into their tribe for breeding. The city, built mostly of wood, was burned to the ground and mostly absorbed by the jungle. For centuries afterward the Jivaros killed any Europeans or Americans who encroached on their territory. When the Jivaros eventually were Christianized in the late 20th century, missionaries noted some members of the tribe had lighter complexions and more body hair, attesting to their descent from the Spanish women taken from Logrono. Because of this fascinating piece of Brazilian history, I would like to see "Jivaro" made available on DVD. By seeing the movie, people could learn more about South Americam cultures and relate the story to current issues about the rain forest.
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