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At the end of World War I, Zeb Kennedy, a canner, and Thor Storm, a fishing boat captain, set up a fish cannery in Alaska and through the years find themselves on opposite sides of Alaska's bid for statehood. Zeb is determined to let nothing and no one stop him from building his business and gaining great wealth. At first Zeb and Thor's girlfriend, Birdie, are only good friends. But even though Zeb and Birdie fall in love, Zeb remains devoted to his greater love: money. Zeb goes off to Seattle to find money for his business. There he marries Dorothy, the heir to his former employer. When Dorothy and Thor find out that Zeb and Birdie are secret lovers, Thor attacks Zeb, knocking him out. His friendship with Zeb ended, Thor heads off into the Alaskan wilderness, where he is rescued by an Eskimo family. There, Thor begins to work for Alaskan statehood, while Zeb works to advance himself through his business. Written by
I can't believe this movie has a rating as high as it does! This is an absolutely awful "epic" film that is about as dull and poorly made "big picture" as you'll find. To put this in perspective, this came out just a few years after GIANT and seems to be a similar-type movie (having been written by the same person, by the way) but it's set in Alaska instead of Texas. And,...in addition, it is chock full of histrionics and soap opera elements.
My biggest complaint is actually the music. This is an odd thing to complain about, but throughout the movie incredibly loud and flamboyant music occurs in the most mundane moments! For example, when people are out catching salmon in fishing boats, you are assaulted by loud classical-style music! Again and again, the lousy musical score dominates and overwhelms. A lot of the time, it simply would have been better with no music instead of the brash music they used.
Secondly, no one in particular is very likable or interesting. At first, Richard Burton seems interesting and pretty likable, but soon he becomes and unreasoning money-crazed robot instead of a real human being. So, in effect, he's a caricature of a person--completely one-dimensional and fake. His kid and later grandkid MIGHT be interesting, but their characters really are never developed--they're more like a part of the set or a plot device. Despite Robert Ryan's character being a little less repellent and wooden, he isn't a BIG improvement, either. Of the three leads, Carolyn Jones probably comes off best.
Thirdly, George Takei (yes, from STAR TREK) plays the role of a very stereotypical Chinese lackey. Considering how broad and insulting the character was, I feel sorry for him having to take such a demeaning role. Plus, he's Japanese--this just isn't the same as Chinese! Why not get a real honest-to-goodness Chinese guy who can act like he's not an idiot to play the part?
Fourthly, I hated the scene involving the fight between Thor's son and the bear. In the distant shots it's obviously a real bear. But in the close shots it's also obviously a guy in a bear suit! It's so obvious that it looks like something you'd see in a 3 Stooges short, not an expensive epic.
And finally, the film is just uninteresting. The movie seemed like it was 4 hours long, but it wasn't. It's just that a guy making money by operating a fish cannery just isn't compelling.
So in conclusion, the movie stinks. It's BIG and SWEEPING and has some nice cinematography, but that's all!!!
5 of 16 people found this review helpful.
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