Chang

67 minutes

A fascinating silent relic by King Kong's Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, filmed in the jungle of northeast Siam. The putative plot concerns the struggle of a family and its animals against the ravages of jungle beasts (mainly leopards, tigers, and elephants). Clearly fabricated for the camera, with frequent recourse to the deceptive resources of editing (including animal point-of-view shots), and buttressed with quaint intertitles that assign lines of dialogue to many of the animals, this colonialist action romp was the most commercially successful American film of 1927 and was nominated for an Oscar for “artistic quality of production”; it's still quite entertaining, though a far cry from anything resembling serious documentary or ethnography.

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