Congorilla [DVD] [1932]

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Congorilla was the first all-talkie effort from famed explorer-documentarians Martin and Osa Johnson. The title is what one reviewer called a "hybridization" of the Belgian Congo and the gorillas indigenous to the region. Enduring great hardships -- all of which are dutifully recorded on-screen -- Mr. and Mrs. Johnson journey deeper and deeper into the Congolese interior, at one point coming face to face (in a manner of speaking) with a hostile pygmy tribe. There is also a perilous boat journey across a river infested with hippopotami, one of whom nearly capsizes the Johnson's vessel. That Osa and Martin Johnson never let the facts get in the way of a good story is proven in one Congorilla vignette in which a charging rhinoceros is scared away by a well-aimed shot from Mrs. Johnson's rifle. This piquant little scene was actually lifted from the Johnsons' 1928 production Simba -- except in that film, it was made to appear that the rhino was killed! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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