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Northward, Ho! (1940)

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



(original screen play)
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Title: Northward, Ho! (1940)

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Uncredited cast:
Clem Bevans ...
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.
See more »


References 20 Mule Team (1940) See more »

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User Reviews

Mildly interesting behind the scenes look at location shooting
8 May 2008 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This short was a promotional film made in conjunction with the release of the MGM epic NORTHWEST PASSAGE. Often in the 1930s and 40s, MGM made such films to hype an upcoming release and it was less a film trailer and more a behind the scenes look at how the film was made. In this case, the film centered on the difficulty and logistics involved in doing a location shoot. The massive efforts needed to move all the equipment and build all the sets was rather interesting to fill buffs and historians, though I doubt if the casual viewer will find this film all that interesting. Oddly, for this type of film, there were very, very few shots of the actors involved (other than two of Spencer Tracy) and you'd have no idea that Robert Young or any other actors were involved.

My advice is see NORTHWEST PASSAGE--it's a great film. Then, if you'd like, see NORTHWARD, HO--then, perhaps, you'll find it a little more interesting and can appreciate the efforts that went into the feature-length film.

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