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.
When American newspaperman and adventurer Henry M. Stanley comes back from the western Indian wars, his editor James Gordon Bennett sends him to Africa to find Dr. David Livingstone, the ... See full summary »
Texas Ranger Dusty Rivers ("Isn't that a contradiction in terms?", another character asks him) travels to Canada in the 1880s in search of Jacques Corbeau, who is wanted for murder. He ... See full summary »
Cecil B. DeMille
Against all odds Father Flanagan starts "Boys' Town" after hearing a convict's story. Whitey Marsh comes there. He runs away but, hungry, returns. He runs away again but, when friend Pee ... See full summary »
Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada. The Armada is waiting for the attack on England and Thorpe surprises them with attacks on their galleons where he shows his skills on the sword.
Maj. Pete Sandidge is a very able pilot who seems to have a streak of luck as far as flying goes. World War II is raging and Pete has come out of it pretty so far. He even has a beautiful ... See full summary »
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
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 »
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 »
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...
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America, My Country Tis of Thee
Music by Lowell Mason, based on the Music by Henry Carey from "God Save the King" (1744)
In the score during the opening credits
Reprised in the score near the end See more »
Frequently ripped-off historical plot seen here first.
Two months before his death in 1957, Kenneth Roberts received a special Pulitzer Prize for his historical novels. Of them, Northwest Passage was his most famous. It consisted of two distinct parts, and was the second best selling American book of 1937 (after first having been serialized in the Saturday Evening Post).
MGM's 1940 movie is based on the first, and in my opinion, better part of the book. It recounts Major Robert Rogers' 1759 raid on St. Francis, an Abenaki village, during the French and Indian War. As Rogers, Spencer Tracy gives a powerhouse performance, King Vidor delivers the directorial goods, and the storyline, itself, is very exciting. Indeed, I remember Northwest Passage fondly from my childhood, and consider it a classic. However, because of today's values, it probably appeals more to conservatives than liberals.
In 1945, Warner Brothers' Objective, Burma! (starring Errol Flynn) used the same plot without attribution--a Japanese transmission station replacing the Indian village. (Directed by Raoul Walsh, it too is very well done.) Then, in 1951's Distant Drums (starring Gary Cooper), director Walsh again used the same plot without attribution. This time the movie (which is not so well done) occurs during The Seminole Indian Wars (18351842), and the initial objective is an old Spanish fort, lying deep within the Everglades.
In conclusion, I'm not shocked that Hollywood recycled Roberts' plot without attribution. (You only have to remember Dorothy Parker's quip "The only 'ism' Hollywood believes in is plagiarism.") I am, however, somewhat shocked that Roberts did not sue. (His reputation was that of an acerbic curmudgeon.) But, then again, maybe he just didn't know.
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