I flew upstream in a plane with pontoons, and landed on the Amazon above Belim without seeing a single person in a loincloth, although I saw many Michael Jordan T-shirts.
A Discredited Trope
from the days of the White Man's Burden
in works depicting deepest darkest Africa
, generally describing the moment before the natives rise up and overrun the compound, or abduct the white woman for sacrifice
. Often indicated by the natives playing Jungle Drums
. The phrase
is said to go back to the 1933 film Island of Lost Souls
, in which Dr. Moreau says this of his half-human / half-beast creations, and has since become a stock phrase for trouble brewing in a group of people. Often a prelude to being Chased by Angry Natives
. Natives, like white villagers, may take up Torches and Pitchforks
when they get restless enough to form a mob.
- MAD once had an article Modern endings to classic movie lines. One of the lines featured was "The Natives Are Restless Tonight", cut to a disco filled with partying locals.
- There's a British film called Restless Natives, but it's about a clown and a gorilla robbing buses on a motorcycle.
- Done in one of L. Ron Hubbard's less crappier novels - the protagonist interrupts the spooked natives with a sniper rifle that shoots joke holograms, starting with Elvis Presley's ghosts dancing around a cursing Josef Stalin (long story).
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Beyond the Black River," the Picts, who are using Jungle Drums and raiding the colonists. To be sure the Picts are both white (a point lampshaded in the story) and in what would one day be Europe, but the trope is treated identically.
- Played straight in Rosemary Sutcliffe's The Eagle of the Ninth. It is about a colony in Roman occupied Britain, after all.
- Parodied in The Goodies, set in South Africa where "Apart-Height" has replaced apartheid, with episode where a group of jockeys are planning an uprising; Tim observes that "the jockeys are restless tonight".
- In Doctor Who's "Inferno," a mineral slime from inside the earth's crust turns people exposed to it into homicidal werewolf-like Primords. At one point, a character (trapped in a building with them) says to the Doctor, "The natives are getting restless."
- A Victorian era hunter in "Ghostlight" comments that "The ladies are restless" during a catfight.
- The Cramps have a song called "The Natives Are Restless" on their 1981 album "Psychedelic Jungle".
- There's a song by (I think) Jimmy Buffett called "The Natives Are Restless Tonight" which is the singer warning people not to go outside, because... yeah".
- There was a collection of The Far Side entitled The Chickens Are Restless.
- One specific strip had a bunch of native tribesmen meeting outside their huts in the middle of the night with a caption like "And, hey, here comes N'Butu. Looks like none of us can get to sleep tonight!"
- Played straight in Starcraft II Wings Of Liberty single player campaign. After the Terran (human) forces land on the main Zerg (creepy crawly alien race) planet and make a temporal stronghold on it's surface, Tychus J. Findlay says the exact words implying the Zergs are preparing for massive counterattack.
- A modern variation is appears in Act of War, where the Task Force Talon is driving through London at the onset of a major summit, with thousands of protesters lining the streets. Jefferson even quotes the trope name word by word.
- In what may be a subversion, the crowd does not actually turn aggressive, but it is riled into panic by gunmen firing at the crowd.