Howard Hill The Last Wilderness 1935

Reviewed by Steve
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This is a DVD from a bygone age, a time when for the great majority of people Wild places and Wild animals were rarely seen. There were few TV’s so this little film would have been made for a cinema audience with limited understanding of animals or the stuff that takes place in the mountains and hills.

 Nowadays we are bombarded with Wildlife programmes, shows about national parks from all over the globe and that animals should be nurtured and cared for in these last protected places. The idea of going out with a bow or any weapon to “collect” museum specimens as in this DVD is frowned upon to the extent that all forms of hunting is branded “evil” by the vast majority of civilised city dwellers.

For the few who know a little about hunting, the understanding that hunters are in fact the greatest conservators of wildlife seems a less than convincing argument to those who claim to know everything green yet rarely visit the place.

The fact is that many a natural environment and those residents that are hunted only exist because of hunting.
So, to the DVD itself. In black and white a young Howard is invited from his ranch in California to take part in a year long expedition to Wyoming, The Last Wilderness of the title,  to gather some museum specimens, it is narrated in the first person ( although the voice purports to be Howard it isn’t actually him).
 The action moves slowly as the various animals are given characters, from brave and heroic to down right evil, I hope I am not giving too much away when I say that happily Howard is able to kill all the evil ones and interfere in a positive way with all the good ones.

Would I have preferred to see a DVD packed with Howard performing skilful and amazing archery ? Probably.
However the film is engaging, considering its length there isn’t a huge amount of archery in it, it’s like Disney invited Roman Polanski  to make a movie for him.
All in all a product of it’s time, having seen it, would I still buy it? Absolutely.
But don’t buy it as an instructional DVD but as a piece of archery nostalgia, if you have more than 3 archery DVD’s, then this won’t disappoint as an addition to your collection.

 

Included is a bonus short "hunting the hard way" , I can only offer that Howard makes everything look easy and natural. For me he is without doubt the Grand Master of the barebow.

Rating 
   
Features & Design
This film was made in 1935, regardless of the presentation that nowadays may seem a little naive by todays sophisticated filming techniques, this has to be viewed as an archery classic.
Performance
It is a pure joy to watch Howard shooting in his fluid natural and totally instinctive style
Value for Money
Buy it and hang the expense !
Overall
This is not a DVD you will watch once and then consign to the shelves, you will view this time and again so if you work out the cost per view it offer superb value.. mind you even if you only saw it the once it is still required viewing !!