King of the White Elephant was the first feature film ever produced in Thailand, which only recently had changed its name from Siam. Three years in the making, the film tells the story of the military victories of King Chakra (Renu Kritayakorn), with elephants substituting for horses on the battlefield. The fact that the film was made in uncharted jungle territory under near-intolerable conditions (including temperatures as high as 140 degrees) is more impressive than the finished result, which seemed terribly primitive to 1941 audiences accustomed to the slick professional features of Hollywood. Though critics carped about its production shortcomings, they praised the cinematography of Prasart Sukum, which was amazingly good under the circumstances. Though the cast was composed entirely of Thais, the dialogue was spoken in English.
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