Borneo (1937)

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Borneo (1937)
Opis: The last travelogue/documentary/exploitation film shot by the husband-and-wife team of hunters/trappers/explorers/film-makers Martin and Osa Johnson, albeit Mrs. Osa Johnson pieced together another one of all-archive footage, taken from previous films, in the early 1940s. This time out they are in Borneo searching for an orangutan to capture and sell to a zoo, but film everything in natural sight and stage a few other items. Martin Johnson died shortly after the Borneo expedition but his widow sold the footage to 20th Century-Fox's newsreel department and they took it from there. The fad for semi-real/semi-staged exploration/exploitation films was long over by 1937, and the people at Fox decided to jazz this up a bit in hopes of getting better bookings...and the Johnson-name still had an audience of its own. Lowell Thomas, a newsman who practically made an icon out of T. E. Lawrence all by himself and the lead commentator on Fox newsreels, was assigned the narration, after the studio editors finished cutting-and-splicing the Johnson footage down to something usable, and then another Fox-newsreel regular, Lew Lehr, was added to provide some comic-counterpoint to Thomas's doomsday narration. Lehr, as was his usual wont, employed his German-accent character, for the interruptive comments, few of which were all that funny...and absolutely none of which were expected to be taken seriously by the 1930s audience. The studio didn't reckon on this film being seen decades later by critics who knew not the era in which the film was released, and had no idea of who Lew Lehr (or Lowell Thomas) was...and evidently little knowledge of what constitutes propaganda. The only propaganda connected to this film was that done by the sales department of 20 Century-Fox in selling this film to the exhibitors. —Les Adams
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