Thursday, December 3, 2009

When Chang came to town

Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927) is an unusual motion picture. Shot entirely in present-day Thailand, this thrilling adventure film tells the simple story of one family's survival on their small farm on the edge of the jungle - a way of life that often pits them against forces of nature. The film was nominated (along with F.W. Murnau's Sunrise and King Vidor's The Crowd) for "Artistic Quality of Production" at the first ever Academy Awards.

It also proved to be a popular film, drawing crowds around the United States. The film  played in the San Francisco Bay Area. In San Jose, for example, Chang opened at the Mission Theatre on S. First Street. The advertisement below ran in a local newspaper.

Josephine Hughston, one of the very few female film critics in the Bay Area, praised the film. She called it "remarkable," and wrote in the San Jose Mercury Herald, "There are plenty of real thrills in the picture, not of the carefully rehearsed kind, but of the sort where a few inches more in the leap of a beast would have meant the death of the camera man or a native. Chang is a picture to be seen by everyone, and a picture to be remembered."

According to a later newspaper advertisement, near the end of it's run all San Jose was marvelling over Chang. See for yourself on Saturday, December 12th at the Castro Theatre as the San Francisco Silent Film Festival presents Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness.

1 comment:

  1. The Evening Class blog posted Mark Cotta Vaz's remarks on "Chang," which were delivered on Saturday, December 12th before the film was screened at the Castro Theatre as part of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival winter event. Those remarks can be found at