AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Among the Cannibal Isles of the South Pacific
Alternate Title: Cannibals of the South Seas
Release Date:   21 Jul 1918
Duration (in reels):   Length undetermined.
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Cast:   Martin E. Johnson (Himself)  
    Osa Johnson (Herself)  
    Mrs. Jack London (Herself)  

Summary: Martin E. Johnson and his wife Osa are shown embarking from San Francisco harbor on an 18,000-mile trip to the New Hebrides and Solomon Islands. Mrs. Jack London, whose husband had made an exploratory journey with Martin Johnson on the Snark some years earlier, is seen briefly waving good-bye to the couple from the dock. The bulk of the film shows the manners, dress and customs of the native island peoples. Music and dancing, burial and betrothal rites, and canoe racing are among the customs depicted. The Johnsons are at one point captured by hostile cannibals but later escape. 

Production Company: Martin Johnson Film Co.  
Distribution Company: State Rights  
Photography: Martin E. Johnson (Cam)
Music: George W. Beynon (Mus accompaniment, score by)
Country: United States

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Si:

 
Genre: Documentary
 
Subjects (Major): Martin Johnson
  Osa Johnson
  New Hebrides (Melanesia)
  Social customs
  Solomon Islands
  Tribal life
 
Subjects (Minor): Burial
  Cannibalism
  Dancing
  Escapes
  Imprisonment
  Music
  San Francisco (CA)
  Weddings

Note: The film opened at the Rivoli in New York on 21 Jul 1916 as an independent release of 5,000 feet. One ad called the film Cannibal Islands of the South Pacific . According to an ad, the film was going to be released both as a five reel feature and as ten one reel subjects. It was re-released in Dec 1918 under the title Cannibals of the South Seas as a two-part feature totaling 9,200 feet (part I: 5,200 feet; part II; 4,000 feet). Part II of the longer version was called Captured by Cannibals in some sources. This second version was distributed by Exhibitors Mutual Distributing Corp. George W. Beynon conducted a symphony orchestra in the performance of his score at the film's 19 Nov 1918 trade showing at the Astor Hotel Ballroom in New York City. Mr. and Mrs. Martin Johnson made a return visit to the cannibal tribe who captured them on the South Sea island of Malekula and showed them their film. The return visit, including the screening of the film, was filmed as part of Head Hunters of the South Seas , produced by the Martin Johnson Film Co., distributed by Associated Exhibitor's and released on 1 Oct 1922. (See AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.2344.) 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
ETR   3 Aug 18   p. 740, 749
ETR   30 Nov 18   p. 3274.
MPN   8 Mar 19   p. 1419.
MPW   31 Aug 18   pp. 320-21.
MPW   10 Aug 18   p. 774, 835
MPW   17 Aug 18   p. 959.
MPW   24 Aug 18   p. 1087.
NYDM   16 Nov 18   p. 737.
New York Times   22 Jul 18   p. 9.
Variety   26 Jul 18   p. 31, 35
Variety   6 Dec 18   p. 41.
Wid's   28 Jul 18   p. 18.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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