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A note in the opening credits reads: "An authentic story based upon incidents in the life of the Primitive Eskimo in the Arctic Circle. Living among these people as a member of the tribe, Ewing Scott was able to faithfully record the courageous struggle for existence of those forgotten people." According to Motion Picture Herald, director Scott and his camera crew shot this film in the Arctic region north of Point Barrow, AK, between March and September 1931. According to a International Photographer article on the film, assistant cameraman Ray Wise, who was an Eskimo, played the lead role using his tribal name of "Chee-ak." Wise later played the lead role as a Polynesian in the 1935 M-G-M production Last of the Pagans (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.2386) using the name "Mala." Reviewers commented on the natural acting style of the "all-native" cast and noted that scenes showing details of every day Eskimo life were woven into the drama. According to Variety, the film was shot silent but had added sound effects and narration. Although Scott is credited in reviews with the film's story, he did not receive screen credit.
The film was approved by the New York State censors on May 6, 1932 in a seven-reel version, submitted by Edward Small, who is listed as the manufacturer. The film was then reduced to six reels according to NYSA records dated July 12, 1932, which was two days before the film was released by Universal. It is not known if Small distributed the film in the longer version before July 14, 1932. Although Variety credits Universal for both production and release, it is doubtful that they were involved in its production. In 1952, producer Boris L. Petroff turned the majority of Igloo into Red Snow in which Ray Wise (now using the name "Ray Mala") reappeared in a leading role. This is probably why, in 1952, the title of Igloo was changed to Chee-ak.