The Savage Innocents

Screening on Film
Directed by Nicholas Ray.
With Anthony Quinn, Yoko Tani, Peter O’Toole.
France/Italy/UK, 1959, 35mm, color, 110 min.
Print source: Park Circus

Ray’s lifelong interest in isolated cultures – gypsies in Hot Blood, the Deep South in Wind in the Everglades – informs every frame of this fascinating late film about an Inuit hunter, robustly played by Anthony Quinn, who runs afoul of the laws imposed upon his Arctic homeland by the white settlers. Assigned to bring him to justice is a naïve lawman, played by Peter O’Toole in an early screen appearance, who is pulled dangerously deep into the Arctic winter. A return to Ray’s perennial theme of a search for home, The Savage Innocents was shot in CinemaScope on location in Northern Canada, using the immense emptiness of the landscape to emphasize the harshness of the environment and the ultimately insurmountable difference between the two distant cultures.

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