Trader Horn (1931 film)

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Trader Horn is the first non-documentary film shot on location in Africa. The 1931 movie tells of the adventures of real-life trader and adventurer Alfred Aloysius "Trader" Horn on safari in Africa. It featured many authentic shots of African wildlife and a great deal of inauthentic plot. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1931. Edwina Booth, the female lead, contracted a career-ending illness while shooting, for which she sued producers MGM.

The film was written by Cyril Hume (dialogue), John Thomas Neville, Richard Schayer and Dale Van Every and Ethelreda Lewis, and directed by W.S. Van Dyke. It was based on a popular book of the time, Trader Horn, by Alfred Aloysius Horn.[1]

In 1973 the film was remade with Rod Taylor in the starring role. Though filmed on the MGM backlot, the remake used tinted stock footage from the 1931 film.


Cast (in credits order)

Plot details

The movie tells of the adventures of real-life trader and adventurer Alfred Aloysius "Trader" Horn on safari in Africa. The fictional part includes the discovery of a white blonde jungle queen, the lost daughter of a missionary, played by Miss Booth. The realistic part includes a scene in which Carey as Horn swings on a vine across a river filled with genuine crocodiles, one of which comes very close to taking his leg off.


Many accidents occurred during filming in Africa. Many of the crew, including the director, contracted malaria. An African crewman fell into a river and was eaten by a crocodile. Another was killed by a charging rhino (which was captured on film and used in the movie). Swarms of insects, including locusts and tse-tse fly, were common.

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