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Man-Eater of Kumaon 1948
Description: A doctor hunts a vicious, man-eating tiger that terrorizes a native jungle village. In time the doctor experiences a private change when he accepts their native customs and beliefs.
Released: 08 Nov 1948 Director: Byron Haskin Writers: Jim Corbett (book), Jeanne Bartlett (screenplay), Lewis Meltzer (screenplay), Richard G. Hubler (adaptation), Alden Nash (adaptation) Actors: Sabu, Wendell Corey, Joy Page, Morris Carnovsky Genres: Adventure
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Man-Eater of Kumaon Reviews:

In typical Hollywood style this movie asserts that everyone in India is terribly spiritual and stiflingly serious. They wander about telling profound things about the meaning of life, while nobly suffering in poverty. Add to this a laughably sententious narration and an American on a spiritual quest (which somehow will be helped by shooting tigers)played without a shred of humour by Wendell Corey, and you have a cute terrible film.But there is the most unbelievable tiger footage that makes sitting through the boring bits worthwhile. Well staged attacks on humans and animals, and a sensational sequence when the tiger wars a crocodile, are very exciting and beautifully photographed. No surprises that director Byron Haskin was one of the top cameramen of the silent era - it is when this movie does not talk that it is at its best.


Back in the 30's and 40's of the last century, Jim Corbett held the zone in the famous imagination soon taken up by Jacques Cousteau: an adventurer and passionate crusader for conservation. His ebooks were enormous greatest sellers so it was inevitable that one would be purchased for the movies. "The Boy Eaters [note the plural] of Kumaon" described each tiger he had seen or heard of who attacked a human being. In each situation he found that the beast was sick or wounded and only killed humans because he was unable to hunt wild game. You may think it a lame effort to exonerate risky animals but hold an launch mind and then test to figure out how to create such a ebook into a movie. There might be another methods but this one works marvelously.A boy (an American doctor) shoots at a tiger just as night is falling. He knows he has hit but when he reaches the spot where the tiger lurked he finds one severed toe and a trail of blood. Out of cowardice (the sun is setting)or carelessness (what the hell, it's only a tiger) he abandons the wounded monster to its fate. That's the first two mins of the movie, in situation you miss it. From here on, while sticking rigorously to Corbett's thesis, the film utterly abandons his narrative and follows almost exactly the story of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." If the film is not more believable than her book, it is at least easier to understand. The creature has to slay to stay alive and isn't it right,just, even necessary, that it seek out the boy who made it a monster? Especially in light of modern concepts about hunting in general and tigers in particular, this ver is a lot easier to swallow than Shelley's Boy vs. God allegory. I'll go so far as to tell that the final stage is so right, so perfectly right, that Shelley would have used it in her ebook if she had thought of it.


I'm not sure why "ceswart" chose the IMDb for his comment but I feel duty bound to mission out that it includes three significant errors. First, the Sundarbans, to give the the zone its correct spelling, are in Bangladesh, not India. Secondly, the Bangladeshi government maintains foresters who hunt down and slay man-eaters, just like Jim Corbett did for the Indian Forest Service almost a century ago. Third, the total number of humans killed by tigers in all of Bangladesh between 1984 and 2001 was 427, a poor toll to be sure, but a far cry from 300 a year.What's really interesting is that the increased prevalence of man-eaters in the zone is caused by the increased salinity of the Bramaputra river water. This, in turn, is caused by development upstream, mostly in India, decreasing to total flow and allowing back wash from the Bay of Bengal. The additional salt damages the tigers' livers, enervating them to the mission that they become man-eaters. Corbett was right!I don't mean to be preachy but wouldn't it be better to restrict this forum to film talk and place social commentary on more appropriate bulletin boards elsewhere on the net?



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