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Film / Facing Your Danger

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Facing Your Danger is a 1946 short film (ten minutes) directed by Edwin E. Olsen.

It is an account of a river-rafting expedition down the Colorado River led by veteran river man Norman Nevills. Nevills and his crew went on an expedition on the Colorado from Lee's Ferry all the way to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. The film opens with footage of Nevills and his men crafting their boats. After loading up their rowboats with food kept in watertight containers, the men go on the perilous journey of the Colorado through Arizona. They manage to make it through 233 river rapids, while on the way observing the deer and the fish of the river, as well as the cliff side dwellings of the Pueblo Native Americans.

Edwin Olsen was an amateur cameraman shooting on 16mm film. After the completion of the expedition, he sold the film to Warner Brothers, which cut the footage into a short film for its Sports Parade series of shorts. The river rapids shown in the film were destroyed by the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam in the 1960s.


  • Desert Skull: The river rafters find a human skeleton on the shores of the Colorado. And it's definitely not Hollywood trickery as this footage was shot by amateurs and only later given to Warner Brothers.
  • Narrator: This was home movie footage so there was no sound; instead we get the narration of Knox Manning, who had a whole career narrating short films in the studio era.
  • Nature Documentary: Besides the stunning beauty of the river itself we also see deer that come right up to the boats, the river in those days being rarely traveled by man. Also the boaters fish trout right out of the river.
  • P.O.V. Cam: As one might expect for a documentary about a river ride, there are multiple shots from the POV of the people in the boats as they shoot the rapids of the Colorado.
  • Scenery Porn: The Grand Canyon, the Colorado River valley, the foaming white water.
  • Title Drop: As a rowboat negotiates some rapids backwards, the narrator snarks that "this definitely is not facing your danger." Then at the end he says "These men faced their danger and lived to record it."
  • Travelogue Show: A difficult river journey down the Colorado.
  • Verbing Nouny: Facing Your Danger