Jack Thornton has trouble winning enough at cards for the stake he needs to get to the Alaska gold fields. His luck changes when he pays $250 for Buck, a sled dog that is part wolf to keep ... See full summary »
Ruby falls in love with small-time con man Eddie. During a botched blackmail scheme, Eddie accidentally kills the man they were setting up. Eddie takes off and Ruby is sent to a reformatory for two years.
Jack Thornton has trouble winning enough at cards for the stake he needs to get to the Alaska gold fields. His luck changes when he pays $250 for Buck, a sled dog that is part wolf to keep him from being shot by an arrogant Englishman also headed for the Yukon. En route to the Yukon with Shorty Houlihan -- who spent time in jail for opening someone else's letter with a map of where gold is to be found -- Jack rescues a woman whose husband was the addressee of that letter. Buck helps Jack win a $1,000 bet to get the supplies he needs. And when Jack and Claire Blake pet Buck one night, fingers touch. Written by
Dale O'Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Yukon Gold Rush: A savage dog and a lonely man each respond to THE CALL OF THE WILD, that primordial release of primitive urges, in their own way.
It should be understood immediately that this movie only borrows the title and a few incidents from Jack London's classic novel. And at that point the comparison between the two should end. This film, rousing & adventurous, is able to stand on its own merits. An excellent cast, fine production values (notice particularly the care with which Skagway & Dawson are depicted) and location shooting in Washington State are the film's strongest assets. The plot, meant solely for entertainment, is pure hokum...
Clark Gable brings his trademark masculinity to a role that didn't require a lot of stretching of his thespian muscles. But in essentially playing himself he is perfectly cast. One cannot overcome the suspicion that London's original story was reworked for the star. Gable had been through this before - remote setting, forces of nature, beautiful woman, adultery. Think RED DUST in the snow.
Loretta Young is the beautiful woman. From scene to scene, no matter what the hardship, she remains living proof that a first class Hollywood makeup job can withstand the worst ravages of the Klondike. This is perhaps too harsh. Like Gable, little more is required of her than to exude physicality. She is indeed a treat to the eyes, even if her inclusion in the plot is patently ludicrous. (The on screen attraction between Gable & Young wasn't faked. A daughter, ostensibly 'adopted' by Young in France, would be the result.)
As Gable's sidekick, comic Jack Oakie has one of his best screen roles. Getting to play most of his scenes strictly for laughs, he adds chuckles to the story which, one assumes, would have outraged London.
Twisting his usual pomposity to a sinister bent, English character actor Reginald Owen is memorable as the film's villain. Dangerously wicked, he makes us want to know more about this man called Smith, with money to burn and a raging temper. The screenplay, wisely, leaves his biography up to the imagination of the viewer.
Sidney Toler & Herman Bing are very good in small roles. Movie mavens will recognize Arthur Housman, veteran of many Laurel & Hardy comedy shorts, as a Skagway drunk with a surprisingly mean punch.
The affection between Gable and Buck, the great St. Bernard with whom he shares so many scenes, is obvious.
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