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.
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