7 January 2006 | ram-30
Upholding the Right in Wild Country.
THE CANADIANS is surprisingly satisfying both as a history lesson and cinema entertainment. The story tells how the North West Mounted Police came to be established in Saskatchewan. It features an anomaly in early 1960s Hollywood films: Indians played by actual Indians speaking a real Indian language, albeit this is limited and the Sioux woman that Inspector Gannon talks to is actually speaking Cree. The acting is solid, both from the established cowboy stars like Robert Ryan and John Dehner and the supporting cast which includes two people who won awards in non-acting fields( Burt Metcalfe produced the TV show "M*A*S*H*"; Teresa Stratas was a star on Broadway and the Met). Teresa Stratas is the real star of this film. Her character is the romantic love interest and her story is pivotal to the plot. She sings three songs, one of which is a Sioux lullaby which is probably meant to replicate Jennette MacDonald's "Indian Love Call" from ROSE MARIE. However, in this movie, the song is sung to her 2 year old Metis child, not to her Mountie lover. If you saw and liked "Alien Thunder" with Donald Sutherland, you'll want to watch this one which shares similar plots and settings(Cypress Hills in beautiful Cinemascope, in this case) but also fine performances from Jack Creley. THE CANADIANS was Creley's first film; his second was DR. STRANGELOVE. The beautiful scenery may also remind you of the film "Zulu" made a few years later. Even the costumes and the plot are "Zulu"-ish, with the red coat officers taming a "wild country" on behalf of the Queen. In conclusion, this is a fine film that shows an important moment in Canadian history and American cinema.