’08 Mar 25 Last night I was flipping through the TV channels and came across a B&W movie in progress on Turner classic movies It was called Trader Horn and made in (1931) and was about a white African trader on an expedition to find a young woman, and his confrontations with wild animals and hostile natives. And while I only caught the last half of the movie, it was still worth it.
The second movie that followed was King Solomon’s Mines and it was in colour and made in 1950. It was about an white African hunter/guide that was persuaded to go on a search for a woman’s husband who, the year before, had gone into unknown territory in search of King Solomon’s Mine.
What struck me about both movies was the rugged beauty of the land (the way it used to be) and to see the wild animals in their natural state, and also how they were used in the making of the film. Some of the scenes were outright dangerous for the actors and actresses, but I was also shocked and appalled that in King Solomon’s Mines, two elephants and other animals were shot and killed (on purpose) in the making of the movie. There was nothing "staged" in the Elephants being shot or the herd’s shock, anger and rage and in their futile attempts to get him up and to safety, as he lay on the ground, his body twitching in the last moments before succumbing to death.
The other thing that was also evident was the racist attitude of the whites against the blacks, and words like boy or monkey were often used along with abusive physical treatment of the natives. Although it was a movie, I could feel the racist under currents in the words and actions of the actors.
I was also intrigued in that this wasn’t a modern “Hollywood” production as the natives were real natives, dressed in their traditional clothing, or lack of clothing. Another thing was the authentic tribal music and dancing, something that I feel has been all but lost.
If you ever get the chance to see these two movies, I highly recommend them as they are a trip back in time… and an eye opener…