A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.

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Lot 139
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.
World Film Corporation, 1914.

US$ 40,000 - 60,000
£ 33,000 - 50,000
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.
World Film Corporation, 1914. 24 sheet lithographic poster by the H.C. Miner Litho Co. of New York, individual panels loose as issued. Some chipping and wear throughout.
Provenance: Purchased by Dr. Billy Utley from Manford "Mag" Magnuson.

After the popularity of Curtis's stage show, a film was the logical next step—the artistic endeavor that would finally make him financially whole. Curtis had the idea to film a mythic tale of native people in the days before European contact. He thought the Kwakiutl of British Columbia in Western Canada were the perfect subjects: they were famous for their ornamental canoes and totem poles, and it was suggested that the tribe had of a history of head-hunting and cannibalism.
Curtis called his film "a documentary picture of the Kwakiutl tribes." He would use an all-Indian cast and feature elaborate costumes and props made by the natives. He also hoped to be able to record native songs and incorporate them into the score.
What most interested Curtis about the Kwakiutl life were the things that had been outlawed by the Canadian government: religious ceremonies, masked theater, exchanges of food and goods for the betterment of clan relationships—were all forbidden by decree in 1884. However, his local contact organized a potlatch and other banned ceremonies for the film. Though the story was fiction, the faithful representation of traditional native activities let many to think of this as a documentary.
The story opens with Motana, a young brave embarking on a spiritual journey. Because he dreams of the beautiful Naida during this process, he is forced to hunt and kill a whale on his own. Meanwhile Naida's father promises her to an evil sorcerer from a clan of head hunters. Motana and his clan resolve to rid the region of the head hunters, and in a brief battle they seem victorious. Motana and Naida marry, but after the ceremony the village is attacked, Motana left for did and Naida abducted. Her dancing later saves her life and she escapes. Motana recovers and chases the evil head hunter until he falls in the river and drowns.
Curtis shot the film in the summer of 1914, edited the film throughout the fall of the same year and by December, was ready to premiere the film in New York and Seattle. The film was a smash with the critics who praised its stunning visuals, compelling narrative, and thrilling action sequences. It was also celebrated for telling its story entirely from the native point-of-view.
A dispute with the distributor, World Film Corporation (run by Lewis Selznick, father of Myron and David O.), over who would pay to put the movie into wide release put the film into limbo. The film was pulled, pending litigation, and never made its way back to theaters. Eight years later, Nanook of the North would have the success that should have been Curtis's.
Contacts
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
A BILLBOARD POSTER FOR IN THE LAND OF THE HEAD HUNTERS.  World Film Corporation, 1914.
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