White Hunter


1h 5m 1936

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 27, 1936
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Nov 1936
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 5m
Film Length
5,960ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

Captain Jim Clark, a cynical African safari guide, agrees to lead a group composed of munitions manufacturer Michael Varek, his wife and his daughter. Varek slumps over when he sees that their guide is Clark, but after he regains his composure, neither the Vareks nor Clark acknowledge that they know one another. When they are alone, Varek's wife Helen tells her husband that she is afraid of being at the mercy of Clark, whom they earlier knew as Clark Rutledge, but Varek reminds her that he whipped Clark before and will do it again. That night, Helen enters Clark's tent. When he eludes to their common past and the fact that he is a fugitive wanted by Scotland Yard, Helen denies that she had anything to do with his predicament and reminds him of a previous romantic night. When Varek calls her, she grabs Clark, but he puts her off, and she returns to her husband's tent. The next day, Varek tells Clark that he and his wife have decided not to shoot that day, so Clark goes with Toni, Varek's daughter and Helen's stepdaughter, to shoot lions. After the African beaters cause a lioness to leave her cub in the open, Toni takes the cub with her to bed that night. The lioness follows the cub's scent and makes its way to Toni's tent. Toni stifles a scream, and Clark knifes his way in from the side, grabs the cub and throws it to its mother, who licks it and carries it away. Helen then sees Toni holding hands with Clark and tells Varek, who surmises that Clark is trying to get back at him through his daughter. The next day, Toni attempts to get Clark to kiss her, but he resists. When Varek questions Toni and she indignantly says that she loves Clark and will marry him if he asks her, Varek tells her that he knew Clark years ago and that Clark left England after a "nasty mess." That night, Toni tells Clark that whatever happened in London makes no difference to her, and he kisses her goodnight. He then finds Helen waiting in his tent, and when she tries to flirt and offers to leave Varek, Clark ignores her. When Varek sees Helen leave Clark's tent, he rebukes her. The next day, Varek tells Toni that he and Helen are separating. He explains that Clark was in love with Helen when he married her, and that Clark is now trying to get back at him through Toni. Varek then confronts Clark and acknowledges that Clark has won. When Varek asks Clark how much he wants, Clark cynically demands the past eight years of his life. Varek offers to clear Clark's name even if that means that he himself might be ruined, but Clark says that it isn't enough. During an elephant hunt, Varek aims at Clark, but cannot pull the trigger. Just then a violent windstorm approaches, and when Varek and Clark return to camp, they find that Toni is gone. Clark searches for her and hears her scream when she sees a leopard on a limb above her. When Clark finds her, the leopard pounces on him, and they fight until he is able to shoot the leopard with his pistol. Although the leopard has mangled him, Clark carries Toni to camp and gives her to Varek before slumping over. Later, Varek can't watch as Clark's servant singes his wounds with a hot spear. As Varek gets ready to leave, Clark refuses to accept his thanks and apologies. Toni then overhears what really happened eight years ago: Varek wanted a munitions contract from the government and used Helen to steal information from Clark, then an undersecretary in the war office. When the scandal broke, Clark had to leave the country, and he has since been hiding from the police. Varek again offers to clear Clark's name, but Clark says that he no longer wants to go back because the jungle is now home to him. Surprising everyone, Toni says goodbye to her father, rather than to Clark, and Clark embraces her as they watch the Vareks' plane leave.

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 27, 1936
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Nov 1936
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 5m
Film Length
5,960ft (7 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Simone Simon was originally cast in the role of "Toni Varek" and participated in sixteen days of shooting before she left the picture because of an attack of influenza. June Lang, who replaced Simon, had originally been scheduled to play the role. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Curtis Kenyon wrote a treatment for the film, but the screenplay by Sam Duncan and Kenneth Earl, who received screen credit, was in no way based on Kenyon's work. According to the legal records, some scenes were shot at Triunfo, CA. According to Hollywood Reporter, Major C. Court Treatt, whom Darryl Zanuck hired as a technical advisor, had been a producer of British animal pictures. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, after shooting was completed, director Irving Cummings asked for his release from his contract, for which he had five months to go, and his request was granted. According to Hollywood Reporter, this was the last complete film shot by cameraman Chester Lyons, who died November 27, 1936 during the production of Fair Warning. The picture also marked the first onscreen credit for Native American actor Rodd Redwing (1905-1971), credited as "Roderic Redwing," who also became well-known as technical advisor on a number of films, specializing in weaponry and knife throwing. Variety commented that "[Wilfrid] Lawson is a pretty good physical take-off on Sir Basil Zaharoff, if the take-off was intended...." Zaharoff was a French armament contractor who became an Allied intelligence agent during World War I and was knighted by the British government. Zaharoff died in 1936.