White Wilderness

From Academic Kids

White Wilderness is a Academy award winning nature documentary produced by Disney in 1958 noted for its splendid visuals as well as its propagation of the myth of lemming suicide.

The film was directed by James Algar and narrated by Winston Hibler. It was filmed on location in Alberta, Canada over the course of three years.

White Wilderness famously contains a sequence supposedly depicting a mass lemming migration ending with the lemmings leaping to their death into the Arctic Ocean -- in fact, the entire sequence was staged. The lemmings were not even local (there are no lemmings in Alberta); the film makers arranged to buy wild-trapped lemmings from Inuit school children in Manitoba and transported them to the set. A few dozen lemmings, placed on a large, snow covered turntable and filmed from a variety of angles, became a mass migration. As a grand finale, the captive lemmings were herded over a cliff into a river (in the film, this was the "sea", and the herded lemmings were on a "suicide drive").

Generations of TV watching schoolchildren grew up on the Disney nature films, and the myth of lemming suicide persists to this day.

External links

nl:White Wilderness

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