7.3/10
5,100
72 user 49 critic

Emperor of the North (1973)

Emperor of the North Pole (original title)
In 1933, during the Depression, Shack the brutal conductor of the number 19 train has a personal vendetta against the best train hopping hobo tramp in the Northwest, A No. 1.

Director:

Robert Aldrich
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Attack (1956)
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1945, an American Infantry company sets up an artillery observation post but tensions between Captain Cooney and Lieutenant Costa run high.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Jack Palance, Lee Marvin, Eddie Albert
The Choirboys (1977)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A group of Los Angeles cops decide to take off some of the pressures of their jobs by engaging in various forms of after hours debauchery.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Charles Durning, Louis Gossett Jr., Perry King
Adventure | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

During World War II, an American pilot and a marooned Japanese navy captain are deserted on a small uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. There, they must cease their hostility and cooperate if they want to survive, but will they?

Director: John Boorman
Stars: Lee Marvin, Toshirô Mifune
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Set in the Depression, a gang of half-witted small-time hoods led by Slim Grissom kidnap heiress Barbara Blandish and Slim proceeds to fall in love with her. Remake of the British film No ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Kim Darby, Scott Wilson, Tony Musante
Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Harry Sears manages The California Dolls, a female wrestling tag team who tour America, hoping for a chance at winning big time. Harry's also romantically involved with one of them. Their ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Peter Falk, Vicki Frederick, Laurene Landon
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An imprisoned rogue USAF general with a secret personal agenda, escapes the brig and takes over an ICBM silo, threatening to start WW3.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Roscoe Lee Browne
Hustle (1975)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

At the instigation of a grieving father, a Los Angeles cop investigates the suspicious circumstances of a girl's apparent suicide.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Burt Reynolds, Catherine Deneuve, Ben Johnson
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After a plane crash in the Sahara, one of the survivors says he's an airplane designer and they can make a flyable plane from the wreckage.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch
Mystery | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

John Deakin is being transported, as a prisoner, on a train with supplies and medicine to Fort Humboldt, Nevada.

Director: Tom Gries
Stars: Charles Bronson, Ben Johnson, Richard Crenna
Ulzana's Raid (1972)
Adventure | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After fierce war chief Ulzana and a small war party jump the reservation bent on murder and terror, an inexperienced young lieutenant is assigned to track him down.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Bruce Davison, Jorge Luke
Apache (1954)
Certificate: Passed Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Refusing to let himself be re-settled on a Florida reservation, Massai, an Apache warrior, escapes his captors and returns to his homeland to become a peaceful farmer.

Director: Robert Aldrich
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Jean Peters, John McIntire
Death Hunt (1981)
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1931 Canada, Yukon trapper Johnson has a feud with a dog owner who later retaliates by publicly accusing Johnson of murder and thus triggering a police manhunt in the wilderness.

Director: Peter R. Hunt
Stars: Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Andrew Stevens
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Marvin ... A No. 1
Ernest Borgnine ... Shack
Keith Carradine ... Cigaret
Charles Tyner ... Cracker
Malcolm Atterbury ... Hogger
Simon Oakland ... Policeman
Harry Caesar ... Coaly
Hal Baylor ... Yardman's Helper
Matt Clark ... Yardlet
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Gray Cat (as Elisha Cook)
Joe Di Reda Joe Di Reda ... Dinger (as Joe di Reda)
Liam Dunn ... Smile
Diane Dye Diane Dye ... Girl in Water
Robert Foulk ... Conductor
Jim Goodwin Jim Goodwin ... Fakir (as James Goodwin)
Edit

Storyline

It is during the great depression in the US, and the land is full of people who are now homeless. Those people, commonly called "hobos", are truly hated by Shack (Borgnine), a sadistical railway conductor who swore that no hobo will ride his train for free. Well, no-one but "A" Number One (Lee Marvin), who is ready to put his life at stake to become a local legend - as the first person who survived the trip on Shack's notorious train. Written by Brian Peterson calyooper@email.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From the makers of 'The Dirty Dozen' See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 May 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Emperor of the North See more »

Filming Locations:

Buxton, Oregon, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$3,705,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was set in Oregon in 1933. The movie was first released in 1973 thereby making it exactly forty years after the events depicted in the movie were set. See more »

Goofs

On a single track railroad, such as in most of the scenes, trains have to adhere to a precise schedule in order to allow trains to run in both directions. An experienced train man like Shack would know this and would never purposely stop his train to conduct a search the way he did on the bridge. At the least it would foul up the schedule of other trains, and at worst could cause a head on collision. See more »

Quotes

A no. 1: [At the end of the movie, A No. 1 throws Cigaret off of the train, into a pond, and shouts to him from the train] Hey kid you got no class. Hit the bums, kid. Run like the devil. Get a tin can and take up mooching. Knock on back doors for a nickel.
A no. 1: Tell them your story. Make 'em weep. You could have been a meat-eater, kid. But you didn't listen to me when I laid it down.
A no. 1: Stay off the tracks. Forget it. Its a bum's world for a bum. You'll never be Emperor of the North Pole, kid. You had the juice...
See more »

Alternate Versions

Originally premiered as "Emperor of the North Pole": the film was pulled from release because people thought the film was about the Arctic. It was re-released as "Emperor of the North" and given two different advertising campaigns: one with a poster playing up the comedy, another with a poster playing up the violence (The poster said "If you can ride Shack's train and live, you're...Emperor of the North!"). Neither new campaign clicked with audiences. The song "A Man and a Train" is sung in "Emperor of the North" by Marty Robbins. The poster for the original release says it is sung by Bill Medley. It is unknown what other changes, if any, were made between the two releases. See more »


Soundtracks

A Man and a Train
Lyrics by Hal David
Music by Frank De Vol
Sung by Marty Robbins
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Boxcar Willies
8 May 2002 | by telegonusSee all my reviews

For you teenagers out there, or parents of teenagers who have expressed a desire to run away from home and ride the rails, this movie is the perfect antidote. Anyone who sees this film you will never even consider hopping on a boxcar again. Directed by Robert Aldrich, and bearing his unmistakable anarchist's stamp, it tells the story of two hoboes, one, A-1, played by Lee Marvin, a seasoned, lone wolf, and the other, Cigaret (Keith Carradine), a young boaster who tags along for the rides, and forever tries to convince his friend and mentor that he is in the same league with him in the art of hobodom, and maybe even better. The story revolves around the attempt of both men to ride the Number 19, a train lorded over by vicious railroadman Shack (Ernest Borgnine), who is known for despising hoboes, and for attacking them with hammer and chains! Director Robert Aldrich works wonders with this tall tale, some of it based on true stories. His fondness for improbable material is evident here, as once again he shows himself fascinated by the seemingly impossible task. Aldrich has a real feeling for what one might call WASP schmaltz, and he pours it on like ketchup on a Big Mac. He obviously loves railraods, old railroad uniforms, tramps, the Pacific Northwest, junkyards and the great outdoors generally, all copiously present here, aided in no small measure by Joe Biroc's lyrical photography.

The Emperor Of the North Pole is more character study than story. Marvin's character of A-1 is independent, shrewd and ethically minded, with a great sense of style. For him, being a hobo is almost a calling, and his acceptance by his fellow tramps constitutes a kind of knighthood, a status he guards jeaously. His opposite number, Shack, is a sadistic company man who relishes lording over others with a big stick, sometimes literally. To call him a type A personality would be a gross understatement. Unlike A-1, Shack has no sense of style; indeed, he doesn't even seem to own his personality. The railroad does. Cigaret is a kid, with a big ego and even bigger mouth who loves to tell stories about his exploits, none of them true. He fools no one, least of all A-1, who tries to teach him a thing or two, with only middling success. The clashing of these three personalities constitutes the bulk of the film, and is basically what it is about.

I sense that Aldrich, and screenwriter Christopher Knopf, were aiming for a larger than life effect, and that they were trying to create a sort of Great American Myth, like Paul Bunyan or Johnny Appleseed. They only partially succeed at this. Though Knopf's dialogue is at times excellent, the movie's realism works against its mythic qualities, and there's too much swearing. There's too much of a weary, real life-battered aspect to the characters for them to rise to iconic stature. Also, Cigaret's volubility is often obnoxious, and he seems to be saying the same things, again and again; and though Carradine plays him well enough, he comes across as too middle class and at times too delicate for the role. The action scenes on the other hand, are brilliantly done, and the climactic fight at the end is well worth the wait.


28 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 72 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed