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North West Frontier (1959) Poster

Trivia

"DVD Talk" said of this film that it " . . . has a lot in common with John Ford's Stagecoach (1939) in that it's essentially a tale of a motley mix of Anglos confined in a train car, racing across an Indian plain trying to evade 'bloodthirsty savages'. It may be a blatant reworking of Stagecoach (1939), as the original story was co-written by John Ford (I)'s son Patrick Ford and Maureen O'Hara's husband Will Price. The final screenplay was adapted from a script by screenwriter Frank S. Nugent, the writer of 11 Ford films."
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The old railway seen in this picture is now abandoned and no longer used. The railroad originally traversed the northern part of the Sierra Nevadas, the mountain range in the region of the Spanish provinces of both Granada and Almería.
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The famous viaduct sequence in the movie was shot at Hacho Bridge which is situated between Guadahortuna and Alamedilla in Andalucía, Spain.
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This picture's setting, the North-West Frontier Province of colonial British India in 1905, is now in modern-day Pakistan.
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The old railway seen in this film was also used in Red Sun (1971), The Long Duel (1967) and Seven Guns for the MacGregors (1966).
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This was the second of a handful of films the Rank Organization made in CinemaScope. Unlike the first, Ferry to Hong Kong (1959) released a few months earlier), this was a big domestic and European hit, although it failed to capture the vital American market. The next Rank film in CinemaScope was not until 1961.
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J. Lee Thompson's tight direction of this film drew him to Carl Foreman's attention after he fired Alexander Mackendrick from The Guns of Navarone (1961) and needed a director quickly.
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"Variety" said that this movie was "reminiscent of the same director's Ice Cold in Alex (1958), with an ancient locomotive replacing the ambulance in that desert war story and with hordes of be-turbaned tribesmen substituting for the Nazi patrols."
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"Time Out" called this picture "the British equivalent of a Western".
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Though set in India's northwest frontier, this movie was actually filmed in Guadix, Granada, in Andalucía, Spain.
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The name of the train in this movie was the "Empress of India".
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This movie has also been released in a tighter-paced 90-minute version.
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The book that Van Leyden (Herbert Lom) reads in the film was historian Edward Gibbon's "The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire" (1776), likely intended as his wishful thinking that the British Empire was approaching its end.
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Average Shot Length = ~6.9 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~6 seconds.
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Opening credits: All characters and events in this film are fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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Final film as a writer for Will Price.
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The song Capt Scott (Kenneth More) sings and which is used as an occasional theme, especially at the end, is the Eton Boating Song, often heard in the Ealing comedies like "The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)" and "The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953)."
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