Ingagi (lost found-footage film; 1930)


Ingagi (1930)
Film poster.
Film poster.
Status Lost

Ingagi is a Pre-Code 1930 found-footage exploitation film directed by William S. Campbell, with a cast consisting largely of local Los Angeles performers.[1] The film depicts a research party's encounter with a tribe in the Congo region whose members are implied to hold bestiality rites with giant gorillas.

In addition to being perhaps the first entry in the found-footage genre, the film is also famous as the inspiration for King Kong. It is notorious for the controversy surrounding its release. Initially marketed as an ethnographic documentary, Ingagi was soon exposed as a fabrication when an audience member recognized one of the tribesmen as being an actor. This led the MPAA, then known as the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association, to issue a cease-and-desist order against the film's distributors, who in turn sued the MPPDA for causing them to lose profits. A few months later, a private detective working for the MPPDA managed to track down stunt performer Charles Gemora, who portrayed the lead gorilla and convinced him to sign an affidavit acknowledging his participation in the film. It was also revealed that most of the footage was not shot on location in Africa but rather at the Los Angeles Zoo, while several other scenes had been stolen from an earlier film, prompting yet another lawsuit.

In addition, the American Society of Mammalogists questioned the credentials of the film's lead explorer, Sir Hubert Winstead, leading to an investigation by the Better Business Bureau revealing that no such individual actually existed. The ASM also revealed a species of venomous reptile portrayed in the film, the Tortadillo to be little more than a leopard tortoise with various prosthetics attached. In the end, the overwhelming amount of evidence against Ingagi convinced the Federal Trade Commission to issue a statement prohibiting any further distribution unless the filmmakers acknowledged their product as being a work of fiction. This evidently never happened, and the film ultimately fell into obscurity.

With the exception of a few screenshots and some publicity material, Ingagi is believed to be lost; the original master copy has most likely degraded to the point of being unusable.

Surviving Footage

Reconstruction of the film using surviving stills and the Vitaphone soundtrack.

References

  1. Wikipedia article. Retrieved 19 Mar '16.

Comments


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Anonymous user #1

18 months ago
Score 1++

"With the exception of a few screenshots and some publicity material, Ingagi is believed to be lost; the original master copy has most likely degraded to the point of being unusable. "

I've watched this at the Library of Congress--on film. It is several reels long, so the above isn't in any way the only surviving footage. Anyone can make an appointment to see it by calling up the Film Reading Room, though you usually have to give two weeks notice for them to pull a film.

This film has been inaccurately listed as lost for the last couple of years because of incorrectly appearing in a couple of articles about lost films (and one of them was written by me).
avatar

Flashbcaks

17 months ago
Score 0++
funny, its not listed by the national film registry as being in their posession... in fact, the only listing of it is in their list of films that they havent included in their collection yet. you can vote for what you want them to save tho, so maybe thats the route we need to take to recover this film.
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Anonymous user #2

7 months ago
Score 3++

Can't really call it a "found footage" film if it's lost.

  • ba dum tiss*
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Anonymous user #4

3 months ago
Score 0++
It's not lost.
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Ryanskii

3 months ago
Score 0++
Its a lost movie that uses found-footage
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Anonymous user #3

6 months ago
Score 0++

Wow, I never knew a "found-footage" film would cause so much controversy way before Cannibal Holocaust (it got so bad that the director and actors had to confess it was not a snuff film and the actors involved were still alive).

I think it is marvelous that audiences even back then can spot when something is a hoax and when something is supposed to be taken as "real" but then quickly revealed to be fictional.
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Anonymous user #5

3 months ago
Score 0++
Its not lost from what I hear, just very very rare.
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