Cast & Crew
An expedition headed by George Breakston and Yorke Coplen travels to Equatorial Africa to photograph wild African animals in their native habitat. The expedition plans to cover 7,000 miles in six months, starting in Nairobi, Kenya. The city, which is located on a 6,000 foot-high plateau, is populated by a mixture of European, African, Indian and other Asian peoples. Breakston and Coplen are accompanied by fellow explorer Miguel Roginsky, cameraman Herman Shoppe and big-game hunter Stan Lawrence-Brown. After learning of an uprising among the Masai tribe, the members of the expedition change their destination to the Ituri forest, where the Pygmies live. The group travels through country infested by the tse-tse fly, which carries sleeping sickness. Along the way, they ask a local chief to help them capture a baby elephant, but their efforts fail when its mother drives the hunters away. As they approach the forest, Breakston maintains radio contact with Nairobi. The expedition witnesses a fight between a spider and a scorpion and makes a pet of a young baboon. As the expedition enters the forest, signal drums announce their arrival. At the mouth of the caves that mark Pygmy territory, the expedition waits for permission to enter. Later, the members of the expedition learn that the Pygmies live on whatever they find in the jungle. Excellent marksmen, the Pygmies use arrows tipped with deadly poison to kill even very large prey. After witnessing a Pygmy dance, the expedition learns that the Masai revolution is over and heads for Masai territory. Near Kasingo Channel, the expedition stops to make camp and photograph hippopotamis. They also photograph elephants with tusks that weight over 100 pounds, flocks of pelicans and herds of Cape buffalo. After crossing Lake Victoria, the men photograph Thompson gazelles, zebras, giraffes, wildebeests and topi, a type of antelope. They also photograph lions feeding on a wildebeest. Later, Koranja, Coplen's assistant, is attacked by a leopard, but survives the assault. At dawn, the members of the expedition photograph more animals. They then rescue a Masai man, who has been treed by a lion. Gratefully, the man, who is a tribal elder, gets permission for the expedition to visit his tribe. Meanwhile, the expedition's cook is carried off by a lion. At Manyata, the group is presented to the tribal medicine man, who grants them permission to film a wedding that is to be held the following day. Later, Coplen is rescued after he falls into an animal trap that already contains snakes and a lion. The day of the wedding, the medicine man negotiates a price for the bride, who then becomes her husband's property. After the Masai warriors stage a battle dance, the bride is anointed with a mixture of red ocher, sheep fat and sacred oil. She is then covered in special ornaments reserved for weddings and handed down from generation to generation. After the ceremony, the tribal elders make a last inspection of the couple and pronounce the marriage a suitable union. Using a mixture of milk and cow's blood, a toast is drunk from a ceremonial gourd, and everyone joins in an ancient ritualistic dance.
The film's credits were transcribed from a master-positive, and the synopsis was taken from a cutting continuity. The film opens with the following written statement: "Republic Pictures wishes to thank the government officials in British East Africa and the Belgian Congo, through whose cooperation the African Continental Expedition was made possible." The Hollywood Reporter reviewer commented that a few of the film's incidents, such as Coplen's fall into the animal trap and the lion attack on the cook, appear contrived, while the Film Daily reviewer observed that the game shot by the explorers appears to be already dead.