The Savage Innocents
Time Out saysThough scuppered by problems worse than those usually associated with international coproductions, this is nonetheless rather more than just another engaging oddity from Ray. Further evidence of his ethnological interest in 'outsider' societies, it charts the hardships suffered by Quinn the Eskimo as he struggles to survive not only against the harsh conditions of life in the Artic, but - more lethally - against the invasion of Western 'civilisation', embodied by Christianity, capitalism and rock'n'roll. Much of the story is episodic and semi-documentary in tone, illustraing Eskimo hunting habits, marital rituals, and so forth, while the misguidedly 'poetic' dialogue is stilted and unconvincing. But, as ever, Ray's deployment of the 'Scope frame throws up images of an often startling, even surreal beauty: polar bears diving from the ice-flows become a rhapsody in blinding whites and br illiant blues, and the sound of a juke box screaming out over the empty, snowy wastes is a withering, wicked symbol of man's destructive influence on nature.