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Northwest Passage (1940)
"'Northwest Passage' (Book I -- Rogers' Rangers)" (original title)

Passed  -  Adventure | Drama | History  -  23 February 1940 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,223 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 13 critic

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.

Directors:

, (uncredited) , 1 more credit »

Writers:

(screen play by), (screen play by), 13 more credits »
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Title: Northwest Passage (1940)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Langdon Towne
...
...
Elizabeth Browne
...
'Cap' Huff
Louis Hector ...
Reverend Browne
Robert Barrat ...
Humphrey Towne
Lumsden Hare ...
Lord Amherst
Donald MacBride ...
Sergeant McNott
...
Jennie Coit
Douglas Walton ...
Lieutenant Avery
Addison Richards ...
Lieutenant Crofton
Hugh Sothern ...
Jesse Beacham
...
Montagu Love ...
Wiseman Clagett
Edit

Storyline

Based on the Kenneth Roberts novel of the same name, this film tells the story of two friends who join Rogers' Rangers, as the legendary elite force engages the enemy during the French and Indian War. The film focuses on their famous raid at Fort St. Francis and their marches before and after the battle. Written by Dale Roloff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Big Picture that was made in our own Pacific Northwest See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 February 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Northwest Passage  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,677,762 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While Spencer Tracy was flying from California to McCall, Idaho, for the shoot, the private plane he was riding in ran out of gas over the remote Owyhee River canyon lands in eastern Oregon. They were forced to land at Hole-In-The-Ground Ranch, a remote ranch in the canyon. Since the ranch had no aviation fuel, the rancher filtered some tractor gas through his felt hat into the plane. With that they were off to McCall without any further problems. See more »

Goofs

In the speech that Rogers gives to his men to explain where they are going, near the beginning of the film; he is holding a staff that is above his head by almost two feet. When the scene changes to a close up the staff is now held differently and is well below the height of his shoulders. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: This is a story of our early America... of the century of conflict with the French and Indians... when necessity made simple men, unknown to history, into giants in daring and endurance. It begins in Portsmouth New Hampshire, in 1759...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in I Love You Again (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes
(1780?) (uncredited)
Music by R. Melish
Lyrics by Ben Jonson (in poem To Celia) (1616)
Sung a cappella by Spencer Tracy, Robert Young and Walter Brennan
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of King Vidor's best!
12 May 2003 | by See all my reviews

Northwest Passage is based on a novel of the same name by Kenneth Roberts, in fact it is an adaptation of its first part The Roger's Rangers, the second part was also originally planned to be filmed by King Vidor, but MGM dropped the project fearing the costs involved. As a consequence only the first part of the novel was brought to the screen where passage through the northwest never actually happens but only is talked about.

The story is centred on Major Robert Rogers (Spencer Tracy) and his rangers who take a dangerous and adventurous journey through the territory controlled by the Indians and the French troops in 18th century America in order to destroy a hostile Indian village from where English settlements are constantly being attacked.

Right in the beginning the rangers are joined by right out of Harvard idealistic young cartographer Langdon Towne (Robert Young) who is dreaming of becoming a great painter `like Velasquez or Rubens' and is enthusiastic about the journey because of possibility it offers to paint portraits of Indians and landscapes in contrast with the other rangers who are mainly driven by yearning of revenge for relatives murdered during Indian raids.

Northwest Passage is possibly the best and the most visually impressive King Vidor's adventure film. Breathtakingly beautiful landscapes shown here certainly stand out as the most wonderful even among King Vidor's work who was well known for beautiful Technicolor exteriors in his movies. A beautiful film, definitely worth watching. 8/10


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