Trader Horn ★★

MGM's big African safari epic, one of the first Hollywood talkies shot overseas, is a film so brazenly racist it actually sustains interest for a while in a train-wreck sort of way, helped along by some of the arresting nature photography and accidental documentarylike (and in all likelihood, tastelessly intrusive) excursions into traditions and culture that would be heretofore entirely unknown to its audience. Woody Van Dyke wasn't Merian Cooper, though, and he was in over his head; people died and became ill as a result of this mad stunt, which grows even more irksome when a character voices the true message of the film: "Don't you understand? White people must help each other!"; the heroine then slaps the shit out of him, but that's only because she has been raised by "savages." It's that kind of film; there are very good reasons WB hasn't exactly made it easy to see.