Northwest Passage (1940)

Passed   |    |  Adventure, Drama, History


Northwest Passage (1940) Poster

Langdon Towne and Hunk Marriner join Major Rogers' Rangers as they wipe out an Indian village. They set out for Fort Wentworth, but when they arrive they find no soldiers and none of the supplies they expected.

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7.1/10
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  • Robert Young and Ruth Hussey in Northwest Passage (1940)
  • Ruth Hussey in Northwest Passage (1940)
  • Robert Young and Ruth Hussey in Northwest Passage (1940)
  • Spencer Tracy and Robert Young in Northwest Passage (1940)
  • Spencer Tracy in Northwest Passage (1940)
  • Walter Brennan and Robert Young in Northwest Passage (1940)

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4 November 2003 | Theo Robertson
8
| They Don't Make Them Like This Anymore
Apologies for the clichéd summary above but this is a great adventure from the good old days of Hollywood . The story is very simple : Map maker Langdon Towne finds himself in a spot of bother and in a slightly unlikely turn of events is drafted into Rogers rangers who are on a mission to attack a hostile red skin stronghold . Hardly a radical plot but director King Vidor and screenwriter Talbot Jennings craft a very good film that only Hollywood in its hay day could produce .

It's not only a great adventure but a technically brilliant film for its time. Check out the wonderful cinematography where the primary colours are at the fore , rather similar to the colours used in GONE WITH THE WIND and THE WIZARD OF OZ . Make up your own mind how successful the colouring is but I found it absolutely beautiful . There's also a show stopping scene where the camera follows the line of sight of a ranger taking aim at a red skin . Wonderful cinematography

There are one or two flaws though . One is that not only are some of the characters too old to be elite fighting men but they seem too old to still be alive . Honestly how old did people live to in the mid 18th century ? The rangers themselves are written as being a good bunch o blokes but I found them just a little too good to be true while no doubt the thought police will complain about the native Americans being portrayed as a bunch of blood thirsty savages , but this was made before revisionary westerns like the overrated DANCES WITH WOLVES and before Marlon Brando sent native Americans to collect Oscars , but at least King Vidor has cast real natives in the part of Indians and hasn't dressed up a bunch of white guys pretending to be injuns

Good Hollywood movie featuring the rangers . Probably brought more recruits to the regiment than SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and BLACK HAWK DOWN put together

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