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Alaska Highway (1943)

Approved | | Drama | 24 June 1943 (USA)
Pop Ormsby wins the contract from the Army Engineer Corps for the construction of the Alaska Highway connecting Alaska to Canada. The elder of his two sons, Woody Ormseby, decides he had ... See full summary »



(original screenplay), (original screenplay)

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Cast overview:
Steve Ormsby (as Bill Henry)
Jack Wegman ...
Sgt. Swithers
Blair Caswell
Hank Lincoln


Pop Ormsby wins the contract from the Army Engineer Corps for the construction of the Alaska Highway connecting Alaska to Canada. The elder of his two sons, Woody Ormseby, decides he had rather fight with bullets than bulldozers but is assigned by the Army to work on the project. Woody and his younger brother Steve are both rivals for the affection of Ann Caswell, the daughter of Road Engineer Blair Caswell. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Bullets vs. Bulldozers... On The Road That Stopped The Japs! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

24 June 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Estrada da Vitória  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »


In the movie, the crew traveled from the end of steel in Dawson Creek by truck to Fort Nelson, to start work on the highway. But to begin with, the road extended only 50 miles beyond Dawson Creek, to Fort St. John, some 250 miles short of Fort Nelson; so construction of the new road actually began at Fort St. John. See more »

Crazy Credits

(Opening dedication) For the U.S. Engineer Corps. -- the officers and men, who slashed the Alcan Highway through in time to protect our Alaskan outposts -- this picture is a token of respect and admiration. It had to be done -- and they did it! See more »


Ramblin' Wreck From Georgia Tech
Credit frames music
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User Reviews

A Good Melodrama With True Adventure As Backdrop.
24 August 2005 | by See all my reviews

The dauntingly difficult construction of the Alcan (Alaska Canada) Highway, extending northwest for nearly 1600 miles, following bulldozers from Dawson Creek, British Columbia up and over to Fairbanks. Alaska, an eight month long achievement during 1942 that utilized thousands of men before its completion, forms the background for this roisterous tale of romantic adventure. The road is well designed for the transport of troops, supplies and food to an Alaska that was soon to be attacked by Japanese forces, and the characters in the screenplay portray for the most part members of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the principal governmental agency responsible for extending the route by eight miles per day, despite extremely cold temperatures that would periodically plunge as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. "Pop" Ormsby (Harry Shannon), owner of a road building outfit, wins a contract to complete the Highway, and he and his employees enlist in the Engineer Corps, Pop as Major and commanding Officer of the unit, and his two sons Woody (Richard Arlen) and Steve (Bill Henry) as Technical Sergeants, although the latter two are rivals after the heart of Ann Coswell (Jean Parker), daughter of the civilian engineer into whose oversight the Highway project has been assigned. Evidence of Ann's preference for Woody, the elder Ormsby brother, is presently prima facie and a simmering conflict between the siblings leads to deeper problems for the entire crew, while a comedic element concerns team cook Frosty (Ralph Sanford) and his search for a mail order wife. The movie was a financial success for Paramount's Programmer Unit under the aegis of producers William Pine and William Thomas and is an excellent example of how the pair's organization created fixed formula films as ensemble pieces, the nifty dialogue here mainly from Lewis R. Foster, and there is crisp editing by William Ziegler who efficiently incorporates into the work documentary footage (including voice-over) of the actual Highway project. Ably directed by Frank McDonald, the briskly paced film benefits from a host of talented supporting players, among whom are Edward Earle, Joe Sawyer, Eddie Quillan, and Frank Richards, while always effective Parker wins acting honours for an assured performance as sought-after Ann in this satisfying work that offers action, romance, suspense, and even pathos.

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