Louisiana story

Robert Flaherty

Scen.: Robert e Frances Flaherty; F.:Richard Leacock; Mo.: Helenvan Dongen; Mu.: Virgil Thompson (eseguita dall’Orchestra di Filadelfia diretta da Eugène Ormandy); Int.: Joseph Boudreaux, Lionel le Blanc, Frank Hardy; Prod.: Robert Flaherty per la Standard Oil Company; Pri. Pro.: 28 settembre 194835 mm. L.: 2220 m. D.: 82’ a 24 f/s.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Robert Flaherty’s last film is a fitting culmination to a long career. It is less a documentary about the Cajun people of Louisiana’s bayou country, than an autobiographical film about Flaherty himself. From the viewpoint of a Cajun boy the film reveals the mysteries of the bayou wilderness, portrayed as an enchanting world of fantasy, filled with beauty and danger. The film is a poetic reflection of Flaherty’s youth, in which he explores his own lifelong relationship to the wilderness and natural environment, and to the people who live there. The opening sequence is one of the most celebrated in film history. Shots of alligators, magnificent birds, floating lily ponds, slithering snakes, and other wildlife and flora are given unity, continuity, and a sense of graceful movement. (…) The film’s visual beauty is so effective that it overshadows the sponsor’s message [ndt: Standard Oil of New Jersey]. Oil drilling technology, first seen as an unknown threat to the tranquillity of the bayou, in the end appears benign, leaving the impression that the unspoiled wilderness is safe. (…) Louisiana Story remains an enduring work of art for its sheer visual beauty, though some have argued its qualifications as a documentary, due to the manipulation of events depicted. Among films essentially based in reality, however, it remains one of the most succesful collaborations of all time, with an impressive amalgamation of talent in direction, photography, editing, writing, and music.

William T. Murphy, Louisiana Story, in International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers 1. Films, edited by Tom Pendergast and Sara Pendergast, St. James Press, Farmington Hills 2000

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