Also known as Cannibals of the South Seas, this feature-length documentary was the first directorial effort of naturalist Martin Johnson, who was aided and abetted every step of the way by his new wife, Osa Johnson. Filmed "at the risk of life" on the island of Malekula (with brief additional forays into the Solomons and New Hebrides), the production did indeed run into difficulty when, without warning, the normally friendly natives perceived the Johnsons as a threat to their well-being and attacked them. Martin and Osa were rescued by a British patrol boat, whereupon the British provisional government requested that the couple call off their expedition -- as much for the natives' safety as for theirs. According to film historian Kevin Brownlow, the Johnsons were finally able to win the confidence of cannibal chieftain Nagapate, who rather enjoyed being a "movie star." In fact, so much good will was generated during production that a few years later, the Johnsons returned to the island to make another, far better film, The Wild Men of Malekula.
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