Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, November 02, 2009

1920’s KILIMANJARO PART 10: FIRST MOVIE IN AFRICA

In TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH, Jade del Cameron leads a Hollywood silent film crew to Kilimanjaro to make a motion picture. During one of my book talks, a reader questioned the premise of a silent film company shooting a movie on location. The reader thought that most pictures of that time were shot on film lots and in studios. And many were. But since this was before the need to record sound, the constraints on where to shoot a film were much less than when one had to block out extraneous noise. Just what was the first picture to be filmed in Africa?

Trader Horn, (1931) starring Harry Carey, is often credited as being the first action-adventure movie filmed in Africa. Perhaps it depends on how you define “action-adventure” but in truth, it wasn’t the first. That honor should go to a German motion picture called THE WHITE GODDESS OF THE WANGORA, which was filmed by Hans Schomburgk in 1913. The location was Togoland, a German protectorate in what is now the Volta region of Ghana, Africa.

His film starred actress Meg Gehrts, a woman who would later become Schomburgk’s wife. While he ostensibly wanted to film documentaries about life in Togo, Schomburgk knew he needed a girl to draw a bigger audience. And so his picture slipped from documentary into the realm of adventure fiction. The plot: a white child is found washed up on Togoland’s shores and the Togo raise her. Only they see her as (what else) a goddess. Once she’s all grown, she is found by a white hunter (played by Schomburgk). Naturally, he’s captured and will be brutally killed but the girl has fallen in love with him. She saves him, and after a dramatic chase scene, they escape to live happily ever after. If that’s not an “action-adventure” then what is?

Meg Gehrts wrote about her experience in a rare book: A CAMERA ACTRESS IN THE WILDS OF TOGOLAND.

Image taken from M. Gehrts’ A Camera Actress In The Wilds Of Togoland (film still)
NEXT WEEK: More early motion picture lore.
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NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Nancy Mills said...

Very interesting Suzanne - great research done on this post and I could picture the making of the movie. I wish I was there. Nancy

Mon Nov 02, 11:50:00 AM CST  

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