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

Passed  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  23 February 1940 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,361 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:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 13 more credits »
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Title: Northwest Passage (1940)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
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
...
Webster
Montagu Love ...
Wiseman Clagett
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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:

MIGHTY DRAMA OF THE SAVAGE FRONTIER! (original print ad - all caps) 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

Production Co:

 »
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

The most demanding scene for the actors involved the filming of the "human chain" employed by the Rangers to cross a treacherous river. The actors themselves had to do the shots without the benefit of stunt doubles. The sequence was begun at Payette Lake in Idaho but had to be completed in the studio tank because the lake was far too dangerous. For Spencer Tracy, who once complained that the physical labors required of actors "wouldn't tax an embryo," it was his most difficult shoot to that point, surpassing even the taxing ocean scenes of his Oscar-winning Captains Courageous (1937). See more »

Goofs

One of the dead Indians in the Saint Francis clearly moves his head to avoid someone running past him. 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

Featured in Challenge the Wilderness (1951) See more »

Soundtracks

The British Grenadiers
(uncredited)
Traditional 17th century March
Sung a cappella by Andrew Pena
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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