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  • boblipton15 April 2011
    With the success of Robert Flaherty's NANOOK OF THE NORTH, Hollywood tried to replicate the box office by using Eskimo themes. There were two pictures named simply ESKIMO and they all had a mildly anthropological air to them.

    In this one, Frances Lederer is cast as Aigo, an Eskimo hunter shlepped back to civilization by Great White Hunter Henry Stephenson and guide J. Farrel MacDonald -- still at the tail end of his starring character phase.

    Between the studio-bound, albeit handsome photography of Henry Gerrard -- whose distinguished career would end with his death later in the year -- and the somewhat condescending attitude of the roughnecks who make up Stephenson's crew, the modern viewer may be offended. Do not, however, be fooled, for the film is clearly on Aigo's side. Although he is a naif in terms of Western Civilization, he shows a lot of brains and gumption, as when he devises a trap for a polar bear. Nor are the 'civilized' men immune to the effects of cultural anomie, as shown most clearly when they listen, rapt, to a program of Christmas carols from London.

    Modern attitudes towards different cultures may have changed in the seventy-five years since this movie came out, but it still is a good story and the modern viewer can, if he chooses, look upon it as an anthropological record of its own, a record of how the culture of Hollywood viewed other cultures back in its heyday.
  • JohnSeal1 May 2011
    Warning: Spoilers
    This obscure RKO drama features Francis Lederer as Aigo, an Eskimo (I know, stifle your disbelief) who falls in love with the picture of the daughter (Elissa Landi) of the great white hunter (Henry Stephenson) with whom he's been stalking polar bears. Oh dear, oh dear...you know what happens with these cross-racial romances in Golden Age films, right? Let's just say there's no fadeout clinch implying future marital bliss. Directed by J. Walter Ruben, Man of Two Worlds features some decent special effects and some good miniature work, but Lederer's performance is rather embarrassing: from the film's opening scene on, Aigo gawps with slack-jawed delight at all that he witnesses. I've heard of the noble savage, but Lederer portrays his character as a nutball savage. Enlightened it is not (though the film was probably considered quite open-minded for its time).
  • utgard1423 November 2013
    This movie opens with Francis Lederer, all decked out in furs, charging at the camera with a spear in his hand and a look on his face that suggests imbecility. It's impossible to refrain from laughing at this sight. With his silly haircut and goofy grin, Lederer looks like a dark-haired Red Skelton. There is no way I, as a modern viewer, can take myself back to 1934 so completely as to see Lederer's performance as anything other than unintentional camp. I love older films and I try not to hold them to modern standards when judging them. But some films are just really hard to do that with. This is one of them.

    Man of Two Worlds is an interesting curio. I'm sure those involved with the making of it patted themselves on the back for how broad-minded they were to make a film about Eskimos but in retrospect the whole thing comes across as offensive and patronizing. It's a fairly standard story for the time: ignorant savage is brought to the land of the white people where they attempt to "civilize" him but, of course, cannot. He also falls madly in love with the first white woman he sees. It doesn't matter if the savage of the story is an Eskimo or an American Indian or an African. It's always the same concept with the same results. Disturbingly, you'll notice how similar the plot is to that of King Kong! I'm sure the people behind this film (and others like it) earnestly believed they were being benevolent and forward-thinking. But it all seems very dated today and will surely offend some who watch it. However, if you're interested check it out for historical purposes and just general curiosity. It's not a poorly made film of its type but that type isn't for everybody.
  • "Man of Two Worlds" is the sort of film that no one would make today. It's very much a relic of the early 20th century and influenced by the real life story of Minik, a native of Greenland brought back to Europe as a cultural curiosity--and who ended up wasting away and dying away from his native land.

    A British expedition lands in Greenland and the adventurers soon meet up with a native, Aigo, who they instantly like and respect. As for Aigo (Francis Lederer), he longs to go to Europe and become a white man--and meet Sir Basil's daughter. This is because Aigo saw a photo of her and he instantly fell for her--though why no one else noticed this is beyond me.

    Once in Britain, Aigo is treated as a curiosity--like some sort of simple-minded thing instead of a person. He likes what he sees--particularly Sir Basil's daughter. In his mind, he's envisioned that she is destined to be his--and, of course, he's setting himself up for disappointment. No one seems to believe, including the girl, that Aigo has normal human desires and urges.

    Throughout this film, Aigo is treated in an amazingly patronizing fashion. He is some silly, childish savage--sort of like Tarzan but with even less intellect. Offensive? Yes, but also pretty dumb, as ANYONE with even average intelligence would recognize that he is a man and not a thing! So, while I think they had a good point in making this film, the characters often were caricatures and the film fails as a result. Lederer's performance doesn't help, as he overplays the role--making Aigo seem a bit brain-addled. Overall, offensive and poorly done. This could have been a lot better--and just a bit of a re-write would have really made this worth watching. Plus, why did they put a Czech actor in this role--couldn't they have gotten someone who at least looks like a native of Greenland?