The Living Desert (1953)

G   |    |  Family, Documentary

The Living Desert (1953) Poster

Although first glance reveals little more than stones and sand, the desert is alive. Witness moving rocks, spitting mud pots, gorgeous flowers and the never-ending battle for survival between creatures of every shape, size and description.


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25 July 2015 | Wizard-8
A little uneven, but worth a viewing
When "The Living Desert" was first released, despite it being something new - a feature-length nature documentary released to regular movie theaters - it upset critics to a degree. I can sort of understand why it did. For one thing, it on occasion manipulates footage for humor, such as with the notorious "scorpion dance" sequence, which comes across as somewhat embarrassing today. Also, it is even more clear today that with 1953 audiences that some "outdoor" scenes were filmed on an artificial desert set on a soundstage. Despite these problems, the documentary is still worth a look. Viewers young and old will learn a lot about the wildlife in the American desert. The movie moves along at a brisk pace, with no dead spots. And some of the footage is still spectacular today, such as with the sequence with the tarantula-hunting wasp. By the way, Walt Disney did learn his lesson with this documentary - later entries in the True-Life series significantly toned down the humor and the manipulation.

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