in about 100 words or less
US 120m, B&W
Director: W. S. Van Dyke; Cast: Ray Mala, Lulu Wong Wing, Lotus Long, Iris Yamaoka, Peter Freuchen, Edward Hearn, W. S. Van Dyke, Joseph Sauers, Edgar Dearing
The first feature film shot in Alaska, Eskimo is a blend of ethnographic documentary and Hollywood melodrama which employed the Iñupiat of Western Alaska as “traditional” Canadian Inuit. Based on the writing of Danish explorer and author Peter Freuchen, who also appears in the film as the wife-stealing schooner captain, the film is almost entirely shot in the Inupiat language. Despite the mélange of cultural traditions, authentic, fictional and otherwise, the film’s lasting value resides in the inclusion of the Iñupiat who appear in some of the most spectacular northern hunting sequences put to film (Klaus Ming February 2015).