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The Savage Innocents

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Original title
The Savage Innocents
Running time
110 min.
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Nicholas Ray
Angelo Francesco Lavagnino
Aldo Tonti, Peter Hennessey
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Co-production United Kingdom-France-Italy; Magic Films / Société Nouvelle Pathé / Joseph Janni - Appia Films / Play Art / Gray Films
Adventure. Drama
Synopsis / Plot
Nicholas Ray's epic 1959 film about Eskimo life was unfairly victimized on release, censored at the UK cinema, and neglected by both TV and home video for decades. The Savage Innocents continued Ray's fascination with alternative lifestyles — examining the life of Eskimos and their remoteness from "civilized" values. It represents Ray's first and most ambitious attempt to break free from Hollywood and forge his own route.

Anthony Quinn (La Strada, Zorba the Greek) stars as Inuk, an Eskimo whose daily routine is a constant struggle to survive in one of the most hostile and hauntingly beautiful of climates. As Inuk's family grows in number (and mouths to feed) a new society of white trappers with new weaponry begin to encroach Inuit land, making it harder for Inuk to live. When the clash of cultures results in the accidental death of a missionary, Inuk must use all his skills to keep one step ahead of the two Mounties (Peter O'Toole and Carlo Giustini) determined to bring the killer to justice.

With award-winning colour 'Scope photography by Aldo Tonti (Fellini's Nights of Cabiria, Rossellini's India), The Savage Innocents is one of Ray's most shocking explorations of custom and honor. Adapted by Ray, Franco Solinas (The Battle of Algiers) and Hans Ruesch (author of the controversial 1979 anti-vivisection tract, Slaughter of the Innocents) from Ruesch's best selling novel, Top of the World, and featuring a score by the Italian composer Angelo Francesco Lavagnino (Chimes at Midnight) the film remains as fresh and exotic as the year in which it was released.
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