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Robert Z. Leonard
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>
William Wellman's 1935 version of The Call of the Wild should carry a disclaimer: 'Any resemblance to anything written by Jack London is purely coincidental.' The similarities basically break down to: it's set in the Yukon, and there's a dog called Buck in it who has to pull a thousand pound weight in one scene for a bet. But this Buck is a huge St Bernard and he's only a bit player in a gold rush romp tailored for Clark Gable but then at the height of his popularity, audiences would probably have burned the theatres to the ground if he'd played second fiddle to a hound. More famous for Gable and co-star Loretta Young emerging from the snowed-in on-location shoot with an illegitimate child, it's an enjoyable enough yarn even in the abridged reissue cut that now seems to be the only version surviving, although it shamefully throws away Reginald Owen's excellent villain, who deserves a much better exit than he gets here.
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