Savage Splendor (1949)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Anthropology  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Filmed in Technicolor, Savage Splendor is among the best "expedition" documentaries of the 1940s and 1950s. This is a filmed record of the 10-month, 22,000-mile Armand Denis-Lewis Cotlow foray into darkest Africa. Highlights include the slaying of an elephant by a tribe of Congolese pygmies, the coronation of the corpulent, much-married Bakuba king Mbofe Mabinshe, and a battle between two crazed hippopotami. The film also presaged Mondo Cane by detailing some of the more bizarre customs of the Manbetu tribe. No director was credited for this 60-minute documentary, though Jay Bonafield was listed as supervisor. A surprise hit, Savage Splendor turned out to be RKO Radio's most profitable release of 1949.