Death stalked Garou's Landing, in the Canadian frozen north, but who was the killer who murdered two men and left them huddled in the snow. Sergeant Renfrew (James Newill, of the Royal ...
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Death stalked Garou's Landing, in the Canadian frozen north, but who was the killer who murdered two men and left them huddled in the snow. Sergeant Renfrew (James Newill, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, accompanied by his dog, Silver King (Silver King the Dog), and Kay Larkin (Terry Walker) the daughter of the man, Andrew Larkin (Robert Frazer) accused of the crime, sets out to solve the crime and bring the real killer to justice. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Why do you think I slapped you when I could have shot you?"
It's not often I run across a movie that doesn't already have a review on this forum, but here's one starring James Newill, one of a series of pictures he did for Grand National in the late Thirties beginning with "Renfrew of the Royal Mounted" in 1937. Singing cowboy Westerns were just becoming popular with the success of Gene Autry, so producer Phil Krasne talked Grand National into releasing a series of Canadian Mountie features with Newill in the lead. He had already appeared in the James Cagney film "Something to Sing About", listed as a singing band member in the closing credits, but it's not really clear if that was his springboard into the Renfrew series, so one can only speculate.
As with most of the Renfrew films, this one is OK, but not great. The story is a little muddled at times, and you have to figure out the premise as the picture proceeds. Renfrew is on the trail of a man who presumably killed someone, but an early set up is botched when his boss, Inspector Newcom (Richard Tucker) assumes it was murder on the basis of a phone conversation with a Dr. Howell (Richard Alexander) who merely stated that the victim Bennett was dead. How the Inspector assumed murder was never explained.
There's other goofy stuff going on too. Renfrew and the man he's chasing both use this high pitched 'yipping' sound to motivate their dog sled teams, and it sounds ridiculous. Then, after an encounter that leaves villain Pierre (Juan Duval) without his sled, he manages to catch up with Renfrew and his dog team on foot!! That was as strange as seeing Renfrew in an earlier scene with his leading lady (Terry Walker as Kay Larkin) gliding along in their canoe on the river with no one paddling.
But there were a few pluses along the way too. For one, I've never seen a team of all white huskies pulling a sled before, so that was kind of cool. Renfrew's canine companion in the picture was a German Shephard by the name of Silver King, and this was way before 'Sergeant Preston of the Yukon' and his dog Yukon King. This film's King gets into a brawl with the entire team of white huskies, but it ended pretty much a draw since the sled dogs were still in their rigging.
Along the way, Newill gets to sing a couple of songs for his leading lady. As best as I could make out, they were something along the lines of 'You're Beautiful' and 'I'll Be There'. To me, Newill's voice doesn't sound all that great, but it must have been fine enough for audiences of the Thirties, because he made eight of these pictures before joining actors Dave O'Brien and Guy Wilkerson in a series of traditional Westerns where they appeared together as The Texas Rangers.
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