Northward, Ho! (1940)

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Behind-the-scenes promotional featurette to publicize the epic outdoor adventure filmed on location in Idaho.



(original screenplay)
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Uncredited cast:
Newspaper-reading skeptic (uncredited)
Truman Bradley ...
Himself (uncredited)
Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Donald McBride ...
Himself (uncredited)
Lew Strohm ...
Himself (uncredited)
Himself (uncredited)
King Vidor ...
Himself (uncredited)
Frank Whitbeck ...
Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Himself (uncredited)


This promotional short shows how a movie studio must often prepare a remote location before shooting one foot of film. In this case, MGM went to an area near the Payette Lakes in Idaho to film Northwest Passage (1940). After loggers clear several acres of trees, the ground is graded. Studio carpenters then build a "remote studio," as well as buildings that will eventually look like a town on the American frontier in the mid-1700s. Written by David Glagovsky <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

10 February 1940 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)


| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Includes archive footage from A Tale of Two Cities (1935), The Good Earth (1937), San Francisco (1936) and Trader Horn (1931). See more »


[first lines]
Title Cards: The epic struggle to find the Northwest Passage... a short route to the mystic east... is one of the most heroic episodes in the brave history of the North American continent. The translation of that bold adventure from the printed page to the silver screen presented a towering task... big even for indefatigable Hollywood.
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References Northwest Passage (1940) See more »

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User Reviews

Brief look at location filming for "Northwest Passage"...
5 May 2008 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

This is a mildly interesting documentary about MGM's decision to find locations for shooting NORTHWEST PASSAGE in Utah and Death Valley, with scenes of cast and crew at work filming scenes for the huge Technicolor camera in the wilds.

At the start, the MGM lot features a glimpse of star SPENCER TRACY with two of his co-stars from other films, MYRNA LOY and CLARK GABLE.

Then the narration begins with glimpses from a couple of other MGM films where great obstacles had to be mounted in order to film stories people thought would be impossible to put on screen--THE GOOD EARTH, A TALE OF TWO CITIES, etc.

The Utah location is then visited with tents set up to house the various departments. Although things may look a bit disorganized, we're told that the unit is run with efficiency and nothing has been overlooked to make sure filming can proceed whenever the weather dictates.

What's most impressive is seeing how the technicians and camera crew had to get down and dirty with the cast that was trudging through river waters, all the while handling heavy lights and equipment.

Summing up: A good introduction to watching NORTHWEST PASSAGE, but it would have been even more an even more effective short if photographed in Technicolor, as the feature film was.

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