Nanook of the North (The Criterion Collection)
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Nanook of the North (The Criterion Collection) (1922)

Allakariallak , Nyla , Robert J. Flaherty  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Allakariallak, Nyla, Allee, Cunayou, Allegoo
  • Directors: Robert J. Flaherty
  • Writers: Robert J. Flaherty, Frances H. Flaherty
  • Producers: Robert J. Flaherty, John Révillon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Silent
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 1999
  • Run Time: 79 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305257442
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,550 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Nanook of the North (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Remastered at visually correct speed
  • Excerpts from TV Documentary "Flaherty and Film"
  • Stills Gallery of Flaherty's Arctic Photos

Editorial Reviews

Robert Flaherty's classic film tells the story of Inuit hunter Nanook and his family as they struggle to survive in the harsh conditions of Canada's Hudson Bay region. Enormously popular when released in 1922, Nanook of the North is a cinematic milestone that continues to enchant audiences. Criterion is proud to present the original director's cut, restored to the proper frame rate and tinted according to Flaherty's personal print.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of ethnographic film October 21, 2000
Robert Flaherty's "Nanook of the North" is a true classic of ethnographic film. The principle behind anthropological film in the early days of its existence was to capture traditional societies in time, a sort of "salvage ethnography." In doing so, filmmakers like Flaherty and others particularly focused on Amerindian cultures, which were seen as a dying remnant of early America. In creating his silent masterpiece, Flaherty used actors of Inuit extraction, who still knew the traditional ways, and who could reproduce their culture for posterity through film. Though his methods have been criticized as contrived and retrogressive, post-modernist rhetoric has not succeeded in ruining this film in the popular or anthropological circles. "Nanook" remains a warm account of traditional Inuit/Eskimo life, despite their frigid setting. The DVD collectable edition contains some photo galleries and useful material about Flaherty and his subjects.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great film about Inuits (Eskimos) April 6, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
This film is credited with being one of the first documentary films. When first released it became known worldwide. Although the film was staged it is partially accurate. At the time of the film was being made, Inuit society was beginning to modernize and the film was made to portray traditional life for the Inuits.
To this day the film remains one of the most famous documentaries ever made.
The film is well photographed and is the first silent film the Criterion Collection has released on DVD. The new musical score is excellent and often appropriate for the particular scenes. This film is generally appropriate for all ages but near the end of the film there is a scene of brief female nudity.
The Criterion Collection has resotred the film to its original frame rate and the special features include photographs of the region where the movie was filmed and also inclused a rare interview with the director's widow.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a pity September 25, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw this movie on TCM and was transfixed. The documentary is a masterpiece of minimalism. In particular, I was impressed by the eerie, brooding score that accompanied the film, with it's haunting contrabass subtly reinforcing the film's icy, desert-like barrenness. It conveyed beautifully the quiet desperation of Nanook and his family as they courageously - and against all odds - eked out a meager existence against the backdrop of the unrelenting inhospitability of the Arctic. It was a magnificent merger of story, cinematography and score. Truly an achievement.

I can't begin to say how disappointed I was when I played the DVD. The original score had been replaced by a New Age ensemble accompaniment that completely altered the tenor of the movie. The evocative ambience of the original was lost. The new score is a completely incongruous loop of mediocre New Age ensemble music that occasionally mounts to inexplicable crescendos hopelessly unrelated to the action of the film; it is totally devoid of and in fact defies any empathic sensibility. I finally muted the sound and watched the movie in silence. It was a vast improvement, but still nowhere near the impact of the original. What were the producers of this re-release thinking?

For this reason alone, I cannot recommend buying this bastardized version. What a pity.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Most of what I could say has already been said. It is an important historical document of a vanished way of life. It is a unique tribute to one man & his stand agianst the elements. Flaherty invented documentary as we now know it in this film. The filmmaker displays almost as much tenacity & courage in recording the material as Nanook does in his everyday life. A measure of the film's greatness is the profound effect it had on Orson Welles. After seeing the film Welles is said to have abandoned the editing of his 'Magnificent Ambersons' & taken on a journey to South America to shoot in documentary style.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humanity in a harsh land March 13, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
The small band of people have to struggle to survive. The threat of starvation is always present. The land is harsh. And yet there is much joy in this film. There are several children who laugh and play with the puppies and play sliding games on the snow. There's a chubby baby of 4 months old who travels in the hood of his mother's coat. There's Nanook's wife who is always smiling. And dogs who work hard to pull the sleds.
The viewer sees the small troop hunt for walrus and seal. There is struggle and then there is joy as they eat pieces of the raw meat. We also see them construct an igloo within one hour, the whole family working together with their flat bone knives as their only tool. I understand that this film has been criticized because this scene was staged and that a special igloo had to be created in order to film the interior, but I can't see how else this could have been done.
The viewer really identifies with the people and their daily struggle and I was saddened to learn that two years after the film was produced, Nanook died of starvation during a deer hunt.
In spite of the limited amount of technology available to Flaherty, he did a spectacular job, and the film stands today as an important historical document. Absolutely one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Just as described
Published 6 days ago by Issac
5.0 out of 5 stars First documentary ever made... a MUST SEE ...
First documentary ever made...a MUST SEE. I keep giving it away to show friends, and end up having to buy more.
Published 1 month ago by hkaiter
5.0 out of 5 stars Nanook of the North
I have always liked this movie. I first saw it in 16mm film so wanted to add it to my collection.
Published 1 month ago by William S. Chellberg
4.0 out of 5 stars New Flicker Alley Blu-ray outshines the old Criterion DVD
Nanook of the North / The Wedding of Palo (and Other Films of Arctic Life) [Blu-ray]
Flicker Alley and David Shepard have out done the old Criterion DVD of Nanook of the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paul J. Mular
5.0 out of 5 stars Artic window
This may be the best old survival film...daily. A few tips and a lot of admiration for filmer and subject.
Published 3 months ago by Bacchusbay
4.0 out of 5 stars An enriching portrait of a forgotten people
I have heard a great deal online about how the film was mostly staged, with actors. I don't know how much of that is true, and how much isn't. Read more
Published 6 months ago by B. Adducchio
5.0 out of 5 stars Peer into history
Frankly, I expected to be bored...I was anything but. It is a window into history. It also (after all this time!) dispelled a few popular myths.
Published 6 months ago by WriterMS
5.0 out of 5 stars You simply must watch this
This has been one of my all-time favorites for over 20 years since first watching it at a library. Simply MUST be seen by everyone.
Published 7 months ago by Mlalahoi
5.0 out of 5 stars Please watch this
If you like documentaries, this is the cream of the crop. The way this family lived, hunted, and travelled is unbelievable. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Desert Eli
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good movie!!
I liked this movie ever since I saw it over 40 yrs. ago. It was shown in Columbus, Ga. at an art gallery.
Published 8 months ago by Virginia Caswell
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