Eat 'Em Alive
Cast & Crew
Animal life in the American desert is depicted with an emphasis on the battles between various combatants in the struggle to either eat or be eaten. A road runner, protected by law from hunters, attacks a small snake. A desert tortoise, which eats cactus spines, fights another tortoise in a long struggle that ends when one is turned over and left to die in the blistering sun. An adventurer, driving through the desert, enters Nevada and, after setting up camp, climbs a cliff of an extinct volcano, which overlooks a lifeless crater of lava deposits. The man, who is generically described as the deadliest of all killers, shoots a rattlesnake on his ascent. An old prospector, one of the few remaining, visits the adventurer's camp with his burros and relates stories of his past, while the burros eat the adventurer's newspapers. The next day, the adventurer drives to Pyramid Lake, a freshwater lake mentioned to him by the prospector, which has curious rock formations along its shores. The adventurer, with an Indian companion who lives there with his family, fishes the lake, of which, the prospector told him, Kit Carson was the first white man to visit. The adventurer catches a twenty-two pound lake trout before going to an island on the lake on which he finds a rookery of white pelicans. Baby pelicans just born from eggs hatched by the sun play with each other as a water snake eats a toad. The adventurer films the meal, and the film's narrator comments that the snake is not as cruel as man, who raises animals as pets only to cruelly slaughter them later. For his own amusement, the traveler chases a red racer, a snake that is the fastest thing in the desert. Nearby, a monkey-faced owl has caught a desert bull snake. The adventurer finds a cabin left by a miner for the use of any visitor who comes along. A black widow spider is attacked by a nightmare centipede before the traveler steps on the centipede. A king snake, which is not poisonous and is described as man's friend because it kills rats and rattlesnakes, bests a poisonous sidewinder, but must drag the half-eaten snake to a shady spot so that the sun will not kill them both. Back at camp, as the adventurer takes a siesta, his "watchdog," a fitch, which is a kind of a ferret, chases and fights a rat, which ultimately gets away. The fitch is then attacked by a king snake, but before either succumbs, the fitch escapes and leaves. While walking, the adventurer finds a large scorpion and a human skull. He then films a fight being a Gila monster and a Pacific diamondback snake. Although both are immune to the other's venom, the Gila monster prevails. On his way back to civilization, the adventurer stops at a way station on the fringe of the desert, where dry farming is practiced. As a rattlesnake slowly creeps toward an unconcerned baby in an outdoor playpen, a mongrel pit bull tries to break free from its chain. Just as the snake is about to attack the baby, the pit bull gets free and by biting and shaking the snake to death rescues the baby, who peacefully observes the struggle.
Writer Philip Dunne's name was incorrectly spelled "Phillip Dunn" in the onscreen credits. According to New York Times, this film was shot in Texas, Nevada and Arizona. Sources conflict concerning the release date: the Motion Picture Herald release chart gives November 3, 1933 while the Motion Picture Almanac chart gives February 1, 1934. According to Film Daily, the film was going to be "roadshowed." Although screen credits state that the film was copyrighted in 1933, the film is not listed in the copyright register.