KING KONG was produced by Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper. Like their previous movies GRASS and CHANG, it concerned the adventures of man and beast in the wilderness. The impact of these two movies on Hollywood led to the production in the thirties of such movies as TARZAN and TRADER HORN.
The "Blonde Goddess" in TRADER HORN was another role Thelma Todd was considered for that ultimately went to someone else. It went to Edwina Booth, who became famous, but came down with a tropical fever as a result of making the film in Africa from which she never really recovered.
Trader Horn (1931 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||W.S. Van Dyke|
|Produced by||Irving Thalberg (uncredited)|
|Written by||Dale Van Every (adaptation)|
John T. Neville (adaptation)
Cyril Hume (dialogue)
|Screenplay by||Richard Schayer|
|Based on||Trader Horn|
by Alfred Aloysius Horn
|Cinematography||Clyde De Vinna|
|Edited by||Ben Lewis|
|Running time||122 mins.|
The film's dialogue was written by Cyril Hume. John Thomas Neville and Dale Van Every wrote the adaption. Trader Horn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1931. Edwina Booth, the female lead, contracted a career-ending illness while shooting, for which she sued producers MGM.
Cast (in credits order)
- Harry Carey as Aloysius 'Trader' Horn
- Edwina Booth as Nina Trent, The White Goddess
- Duncan Renaldo as Peru
- Mutia Omoolu as Rencharo, Horn's native translator and majordomo
- Olive Golden as Edith Trent
Plot detailsThe movie tells of the adventures of real-life trader and adventurer Alfred Aloysius "Trader" Horn on safari in Africa. The fictional part includes the discovery of a white blonde jungle queen, the lost daughter of a missionary, played by Miss Booth. The realistic part includes a scene in which Carey as Horn swings on a vine across a river filled with genuine crocodiles, one of which comes very close to taking his leg off.
ProductionMany accidents occurred during filming in Africa. Many of the crew, including the director, contracted malaria. An African crewman fell into a river and was eaten by a crocodile. Another was killed by a charging rhino (which was captured on film and used in the movie). Swarms of insects, including locusts and tse-tse fly, were common.
Female lead Edwina Booth became infected, probably with malaria or schistosomiasis, during filming. It took six years for her to fully recover from this and other conditions she endured. She retired from acting soon after and sued MGM, which settled out of court.
A sound crew, sent half way through filming, were unable to produce good quality work. This resulted in most of the dialogue sequences being reshot at MGM's Culver City Studio. This caused rumours that the entire production had been filmed there, so most of this footage was cut from the final release. Many animal scenes were filmed in Tecate, Mexico by a second unit to avoid the American laws on the ethical treatment of animals. For example, lions were reportedly starved to promote vicious attacks on hyenas, monkeys and deer.
The actual 'White Hunter' in the film was Lt. Col. W.V.D. Dickinson ("Dicker") OBE MC.
ReceptionThe film made nearly a million dollars in profit.
Other adaptationsThis movie has been remade three times as Trader Horn (1934), the sexploitation film Trader Hornee (1970), and Trader Horn (1973) with Rod Taylor in the starring role. Though filmed on the MGM backlot, the 1973 remake used tinted stock footage from the 1931 film.
Trader Horn is the subject of a 2009 documentary Trader Horn: The Journey Back featuring Harry Carey Jr.
- Scott Eyman, Lion of Hollywood: The Life and Legend of Louis B. Mayer, Robson, 2005 p 110
- Horn, Alfred Aloysius; Lewis, Ethelreda (1927), Trader Horn; being the life and works of Alfred Aloysius Horn, New York, Grosset & Dunlap, OCLC 4350259
- "Movieland Goes Roman", Performing and Captive Animals' Defence League circular, 1931
- Trader Horn: The Journey Back at IMDB
* * *
And here have a little from
Modern sources relate the following information about the film: Tim McCoy was originally chosen to play the title role; Thelma Todd was tested for the part of "Nina" and M-G-M production head Irving Thalberg reportedly considered Jeanette MacDonald for the part. During the filming of a scene in which white hunter Major W. V. D. Dickinson and director W. S. Van Dyke doubled for the leading men, a charging rhino nearly killed Dickinson, who incorrectly thought that the director was in distress and jumped into the rhino's path to protect him. During production, Van Dyke and many of his crew contracted malaria and were treated with quinine. Despite the British authorities' insistence that no one travel to the Murchison Falls, a known sleeping-sickness area, the director took his crew there for filming. The production was marred by at least two fatal disasters. In the first instance, a native crew member fell into a river and was eaten by a crocodile; in the other incident, which was captured on film, a native boy was struck by a charging rhino. Misfortunes of lesser consequence on the African location included flash floods, sunstroke, swarming locusts and tsetse-fly and ant attacks. Despite months of sound filming, almost all of the dialogue sequences in the film were re-shot on M-G-M's Culver City backlot after the troupe returned from Africa because of the poor quality of the location footage. As the script called for speaking scenes involving African natives Mutia Omoolu and Riano Tindama, they were brought back to Hollywood for additional shooting. With all the production activity in Culver City, rumors began circulating in Hollywood that the entire production was filmed on the M-G-M lot and that the African expedition did not take place. For this reason, the studio decided to scrap the backlot footage of Marjorie Rambeau, who had replaced Olive Golden as "Edith Trent." Modern sources add the following credits: Red Golden, Assistant Director; Josephine Chippo, Script clerk; John McClain, Press agent and Miss Gordon, Hairdresser. Although modern sources indicate that the film was originally released with a short introduction in which director Cecil B. DeMille discusses the film's authenticity with author Alfred Aloysius Horn, and that the three-minute introduction was deleted from the negative in 1936, when the picture was re-issued, neither the viewed print nor the cutting continuity contain the introduction. The final production cost was pegged at $3,000,000.
Leading actor Harry Carey was married to actress Olive Golden. According to modern sources, following publicized rumors of an affair between stars Duncan Renaldo and Edwina Booth (formerly Josephine Woodruff) during production, Renaldo's wife, Suzette, filed for divorce and later filed a $50,000 lawsuit against Booth for "alienation of affection." On January 17, 1931, Duncan Renaldo was arrested on charges that he entered the United States illegally and was later sentenced to two years in federal prison. After serving less than two years, Renaldo received a pardon from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936, after which he left the country, re-entered legally and became a U. S. citizen. Booth contracted a rare tropical disease while filming in Africa that affected her nervous system and reportedly forced her to remain confined to a darkened room for the better part of six years.
Trader Horn was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture of the 1930-31 season, and director W. S. Van Dyke was awarded the Red Cross Medal by the Japanese government for his outstanding achievement in direction.
* * *
A number of the glamour girls tested for the part of the white goddess in TRADER HORN. It was like HELL'S ANGELS all over again. They thought it would be a great part. They thought it would make them famous. They had no way of knowing of the hardships that the cast would encounter in Africa, or the tropical fever that Edwina Booth would be stricken with. After her big success in TRADER HORN, Edwina Booth made only a few other movies, including the serial THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Hollywood didn't really appreciate her after all she'd done for them in making TRADER HORN.
Edwina Booth Photos
Later jungle girl characters like Sheena can be seen as similar to the blonde goddess of TRADER HORN.
One of the earlier blonde jungle girls in the movies was Dorothy Granger, as "Tarkanna" in THROUGH THIN AND THICKET, OR WHO'S ZOO IN AFRICA.
Reblogged from http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com/topic/1475/Kin-of-Kong?page=3#.U8V2P1Ig-1s
Jane Hamilton as another jungle girl in THREE MISSING LINKS, with the Three Stooges.
Irish McCalla, TV's Sheena.
STREAMLINED ROBINSON CRUSOE
QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE:
STREAMLINED ROBINSON CRUSOE: