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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 2,175 users  
Reviews: 41 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), (screen play), 13 more credits »
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Title: Northwest Passage (1940)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Langdon Towne
...
...
Elizabeth Browne
...
'Cap' Huff
Louis Hector ...
Rev. Browne
Robert Barrat ...
Humphrey Towne
Lumsden Hare ...
Lord Amherst
Donald MacBride ...
Sgt. McNott
...
Jennie Coit
Douglas Walton ...
Lt. Avery
Addison Richards ...
Lt. Crofton
Hugh Sothern ...
Jesse Beacham
...
Webster
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

Plot Keywords:

ranger | fort | soldier | military | village | See more »

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

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  »
Edit

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

During the attack on St. Francis, some of the bayonets on the Ranger's rifles can be seen wobbling, indicating they are made of rubber. 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 Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Spencer Tracy (1961) 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

 
They Don't Make Them Like This Anymore
4 November 2003 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Apologies for the clichéd summary above but this is a great adventure from the good old days of Hollywood . The story is very simple : Map maker Langdon Towne finds himself in a spot of bother and in a slightly unlikely turn of events is drafted into Rogers rangers who are on a mission to attack a hostile red skin stronghold . Hardly a radical plot but director King Vidor and screenwriter Talbot Jennings craft a very good film that only Hollywood in its hay day could produce .

It's not only a great adventure but a technically brilliant film for its time. Check out the wonderful cinematography where the primary colours are at the fore , rather similar to the colours used in GONE WITH THE WIND and THE WIZARD OF OZ . Make up your own mind how successful the colouring is but I found it absolutely beautiful . There's also a show stopping scene where the camera follows the line of sight of a ranger taking aim at a red skin . Wonderful cinematography

There are one or two flaws though . One is that not only are some of the characters too old to be elite fighting men but they seem too old to still be alive . Honestly how old did people live to in the mid 18th century ? The rangers themselves are written as being a good bunch o blokes but I found them just a little too good to be true while no doubt the thought police will complain about the native Americans being portrayed as a bunch of blood thirsty savages , but this was made before revisionary westerns like the overrated DANCES WITH WOLVES and before Marlon Brando sent native Americans to collect Oscars , but at least King Vidor has cast real natives in the part of Indians and hasn't dressed up a bunch of white guys pretending to be injuns

Good Hollywood movie featuring the rangers . Probably brought more recruits to the regiment than SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and BLACK HAWK DOWN put together


24 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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