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Gila von Weitershausen
HELLHOUNDS OF ALASKA is a German western shot in the Austrian alps, featuring a performance from likable American leading man Doug McClure. The best thing about it is its look, which is achieved thanks to the presence of Austrian director Harald Reinl, who directed tons of cult and classic German movies during the 1960s (including krimi, the famous Winnetou series, and the horror classic THE TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. SADISM).
The story - written by Kurt Nachmann, who seemed to have plenty of experience writing sex comedies and dramas - is probably the worst thing about this. It tells an entirely predictable tale about some ruthless gold robbers who think nothing of committing murder and who occupy some prominent positions in the local town. When a fur trapped outsider (McClure) falls into the mix, he's naturally suspected of being the robber, so he must fight to clear his name.
HELLHOUNDS OF ALASKA sounds like a Jack London type adaptation but the only hound in it is an Alsatian, a loyal companion of our hero. I'm guessing the term "hellhounds" refers figuratively to the bad guys. McClure has never looked more rugged as the leading man, but the supporting cast is largely forgettable and the film is saddled with an annoying kid, which is a pity. Still, Reinl stages some good moments, such as a vicious encounter with an eagle and a lengthy, chase-focused climax.
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