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Ghost Canyon

'Navajo: Special Edition'
(Francis Kee Teller, Hall Bartlett, John Mitchell, William Draper, et al / DVD / NR / (1951) 2020 / MVD Visual)

Overview: A Navajo boy stoically endures hardship, hunger and the death of his family. He is taken away to attend a white man boarding school and escapes, but is pursued to ancient Navajo caves.

'Navajo' was quite magnificently filmed at majestic Canyon de Chelly and deservedly nominated for two Academy Awards®.

DVD Verdict: In this most unusual tale of an Indian boy that rejects the white man's schooling on a Navajo reservation, and together with the fact that most all the actors are real Navajos, it's no wonder that Cinematogropher Virgil Miller won accolades for his work on this one.

In the title role, a seven-year-old Navajo boy, Francis Kee Teller, received a Golden Globe special award even though he had never seen a movie until viewing his own performance.

The aforementioned Cinematographer Virgil Miller started out in silent pictures and became known primarily for filming travelogues. Indeed, he had a reputation for keeping cameras rolling in remote locations under adverse weather conditions.

The producers needed a cameraman with those qualities, and tracked him down at a camera shop where he repaired photographic equipment. At age 64, Miller took on the challenge of working in freezing cold, with only one camera, a tripod and four reflectors, and came away with an Academy Award® nomination, and a full spread in the prestigious American Cinematographer.

Furthermore, the working title was actually 'The Voice of the Wind,' and despite a shoestring $30,000 production budget, a threatened ban by the Indian Service, harsh weather and terrain, infighting between the co-producers, the picture went on to earn universal critical acclaim! This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs via a brand new 2K scan, and comes with the Special Features of:

Commentary by Francis Kee Teller
'Canyon de Chelly' Photo-essay by Deborah Lem, Diné
'The Canyon Matters' by Genny Yazzie, Diné
'Our Navajo Neighbors' 1952 documentary
1952 National Publicity Tour with Mr. Teller (age 8)
2K scan from the Academy Film Archive preservation negative