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Sam and George strike gold in Alaska. George sends Sam to Seattle to bring George's fiancée back to Alaska. Sam finds she is already married, and returns instead with Angel. Sam, after trying to get George and Angel together, finally romances Angel, who, in the meantime, is busy fighting off the advances of George's younger brother, Billy. Frankie is a con man trying to steal the partner's gold claim. Written by
When Big Sam wanted somethin', he got it - the best! When he did somethin', he did it big... Like taming a woman the way you tame the land! Or fighting until the last man was down! Now Big Sam was set. He and the Seattle pleasure palace doll were on their way -- to the top of the world! See more »
In the scene when Sam McCord (John Wayne) and George Pratt (Stewart Granger) are coming out of the Palace escorting Peter Boggs to the Land Commissioner, Frankie pulls up in a wagon to race into the Palace to get Peter Boggs. When the fight starts and Frankie hits John Wayne, Wayne stumbles back. As he stumbles, he loses his cowboy hat. When his hat comes off, so does his toupee.
As he turns around and you can see the bald spots on the top and back of his head. See more »
Ahh, women! I never met one yet that was half as reliable as a horse!
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Stewart Granger in his memoirs said he was very glad to receive the role of George Pratt when he did and was always grateful to John Wayne who got him cast in the part. He had just left MGM and offers were not piling up. Granger's career was in a transitional stage and he would soon take off for Europe and all kinds of spaghetti westerns. Right at that point he needed a paycheck.
Granger and Fabian play the brothers Pratt, George and Billy and John Wayne is their partner Sam McCord in a gold claim that's just hit it big. He's got to buy mining equipment in Seattle and Pratt's fiancé Jennie is there too. Wayne's to bring back both the equipment and Jennie.
But Jennie has off and got herself married. So Wayne in a moment of alcoholic brilliance spots another girl with a French accent in a pleasure palace called the Birdcage and decided to take her back to Alaska for Granger. She's played by Capucine. But things don't quite work out.
Of course there's another kind of claim jumping going on led by no-good cynical gambler Ernie Kovacs. All kinds of problems for the McCord-Pratt partnership.
If you like your comedy broad and unsophisticated North to Alaska is your kind of film. The Duke has some of his funniest screen moments in this film. There's a whole routine with Granger and Capucine trying to make Wayne jealous and with Fabian serving as a straight man to Wayne, it's a pretty funny bit of business. Wayne's facial expressions are alone worth seeing the movie.
John Wayne was always shrewd in marketing his films and he sought to woo a younger audience by having current teenage idols in his films around that time. He had Ricky Nelson in Rio Bravo and Frankie Avalon in The Alamo and now Fabian in North to Alaska.
I saw an interview with Fabian some years ago where he said Wayne was a formidable presence on the set of his film. He was great when you got to know him and he accepted you. But you did things his way or it was the highway, no questions asked.
Fabian has some moments too as a 17 year old whose hormones get going at the sight of Capucine. He sings a song in the film, If You Only Knew. But the real song hit is the title tune sung by Johnny Horton over the title. It was a big hit for Horton in his short and tragic career. Frankie Laine also sold a few platters with this song.
If your taste is sophisticated drawing room comedy, this ain't your film. But fans of the eternal Duke will love it.
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