Anglo/Belgian filmmaker Armand Denis rose to fame with the 1934 release of Wild Cargo
, a documentary about big game hunter Frank Buck. In 1935, he set off for Africa with his wife, Leila Roosevelt (niece of Teddy) in a caravan of specially equipped Dodge trucks designed to carry tons of camera equipment, as well as provisions for the eighteen month journey. Their purpose was to film and record the exotic, the unusual and the amazing which could then be used as stock footage in Hollywood "Africa" productions. The result was the film Wheels Across Africa
. Several years later they would repeat the process on another mysterious continent producing Wheels Across India
WHEELS ACROSS AFRICA (1936): Fire eaters, glass eaters, snake charmers, ancient cities, French Foreign Legionnaires and breathtaking vistas are a few of the many high points as the cameras traverse the Dark Continent. Natives who carve designs on their faces, the pattern of scars considered the paramount of beauty, are documented. This film also contains the first recordings of the authentic dances and music of the Tutsi and Mangbetu tribes. Incredible footage of the wildlife of Africa is climaxed when a huge lion unexpectedly charges the camera with intent to kill!
WHEELS ACROSS INDIA (1940): Spectacular vast ancient temple complexes and exotic architecture form the backdrop as the cameras travel across the exotic land of India. Immense water wheels handmade from bamboo that supply entire communities, a magnificent ancient ghost city, abandoned in the jungle for centuries, and the "Giraffe Women" who use an elaborate system to elongate the necks of young girls to twice their normal length, are but a few of the curiosities visited. The cameras roll to a breathtaking conclusion as they film the priestess who must kiss the Snake God, an enormous deadly Cobra to restore fertility to her village.
BONUS: PERILOUS PARADISE (1937)