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9 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Nov 21, 2000)
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$82.00 $24.99

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The lost masterpiece by the makers of "King Kong," Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's "Chang" is available for the first time in over 45 years. Shot entirely in Siam, the film tells the story of a farmer and his family who have settled a small patch of land on the edge of the jungle. Their existence is a constant struggle against the many wild animals around them--bears, tigers, leopards, and even...changs! The climactic elephant stampede is still one of the most exciting scenes in cinema history.

Before creating their grand fantasy King Kong, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack took their cameras to Siam to put genuine wild jungle creatures on the screen in their part-adventure, part-documentary spectacle Chang. It was a smash hit upon its 1927 release and is still considered a classic of the genre, filled with sights that retain their power 70 years later. A loose story is constructed around the lives of a family living at the edge of the jungle in a hut raised high up on stilts. The father tracks the leopards killing his livestock while the children play with a veritable petting zoo of furry little pups and cubs. The filmmakers are at times condescending toward their tribal heroes ("We be mighty hunters, Kru," comments one warrior in an intertitle, as if their own language is but some pidgin dialect) and fill the film with goofy comic relief. Just forget the story and enjoy the sights: hunters building deadfalls and spring traps, a leopard charging through the woods, and the climactic elephant stampede. The images of the awesome beasts fording a river like a rampaging army while the villagers struggle to split the herd and save their village is astounding. The silent film is set to an original score by Bangkok composer Bruce Gaston and performed by the traditional Thailand orchestra Fong Naam.

The beautifully mastered DVD also features commentary by historian Rudy Behlmer, a color test for the film, a production essay, and a reproduction of the original press kit. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Kru, Chantui, Nah, Ladah, Natives of the Wild
  • Directors: Ernest B. Schoedsack, Merian C. Cooper
  • Writers: Ernest B. Schoedsack, Merian C. Cooper, Achmed Abdullah
  • Producers: Ernest B. Schoedsack, Merian C. Cooper
  • Format: Black & White, Silent, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 21, 2000
  • Run Time: 69 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004Z4VM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,182 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Chang" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 14, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought the dvd to show to students -- it's full of wonderful details for folks interested in the history and way-of-life of villagers in 1920s Laos/Siam. The extras and commentary make for a fascinating history of Hollywood and American cultural penetration into Southeast Asia, as well. But ultimately it's the strong plot and amazing camera work that holds your attention. A great film. Not for lovers of happy animals, though. They kill plenty of them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Casey62 on February 13, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Released in 1927 by the producer/director team who gave us the classic 1933 KING KONG, Merian C. Cooper's and Ernest B. Schoedsack's CHANG is a remarkable film that has not lost any of its ability to fascinate. This was Cooper's and Schoedsack's second expeditionary film after they made the equally impressive GRASS, which covered the migration of the Bakhtiari tribe of Persia (now Iran).

Filmed entirely in the then still mysterious jungles of Siam (now Thailand), CHANG tells the story of one family's constant struggle for survival against the various wild animals that surround them including the "changs", which when translated means elephants. The story had to be flexible enough to allow for the integration of actual situations that might occur during filming.

It's been well documented that Cooper and Schoedsack, both of whom had a high regard for wildlife, were careful not to kill any animals except when human life was clearly endangered. The producers were especially helpful in capturing a notorious, man-eating tiger that was threatening the region. The government later reported that the work of Cooper and Schoedsack reduced by two thirds the number of deaths caused by tigers in the province of Nan.

The truly amazing thing about CHANG are the animals themselves, who figure as prominently as do the people. The dangers of the jungle are skilfully contrasted with funny moments involving children frolicking with monkeys, bear cubs and other little critters. As a documentary film, it didn't employ special effects nor were tame animals used at any time.

The genuine fearlesness of the filmmakers is evident in the breathtaking animal shots which were taken without the aid of a telephoto lens.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John J. Levenson III on March 14, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Chang is very well done: acting, direction and production techniques are superior, even now, 83 years later in 2010. This is a landmark production in terms of special effects that later achieved more notice when its directors made King Kong. It is authentic, providing visual cultural insights into life in rural Thailand in the 1920's. The movie can be enjoyed by other young and old.
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Format: DVD
any fans of "king kong" (the real one, not the retreads) will be interested in this earlier merian c cooper movie, set in the jungles of then-siam, where a family learns to deal with the forces of nature, most notably an invading herd of elephants. short and involving, and fascinating as an early docudrama. also there is an interesting new musical score by thai musicians fongnam that id be tempted to buy on cd. still tho the main reason to see this is as a precursor to the skull island sequences of 5 years later.
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By Desert Eli on February 24, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
People have criticized this movie b/c they say its staged or something like that. People who base their criticism on that are completely OFF. This movie is a documentary about a time in human life that is LOOOONG gone. I recommend this over the reality TV garbage or all that Disney mumbo-jumbo. If you look it at it from a conservation perspective, its going to break your heart. But such was life.
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