Northern Pursuit (1943)

#1 by Robert Crewdson , Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:24 pm

The film begins with the appearance of a submarine emerging off the coast of Canada, and a party of Germans disembarking. While out on a patrol, Canadian Mountie, Errol Flynn comes across the body of a man lying in the snow; the rest of the party having been killed in an avalanche: upon taking him in to a cabin to recover, it's discovered that under his fur coat is the uniform of a German officer of the Luftwaffe, Colonel von Keller, played by Helmut Dantine. Cpl . Steve Wagner (Errol Flynn) is of German descent, and is able to talk to the prisoner in his own language. The prisoner is taken back to a stockade filled with other German POWs. Flynn tells his commanding officer that he was building up a rapport with the prisoner. Soon after there is a mass breakout of prisoners, and Flynn is blamed, and his loyalty to Canada is questioned. He strikes his superior and is jailed. It turns out that being thrown out of the service was deliberate, so that Flynn would be able to join this group to find out what their purpose was. His bail is paid by a fifth columnist (well played by Gene Lockhart, in an unusual role for him). He is taken by train first, then a team of Huskies and an Eskimos are hired, and he eventually meets Colonel von Keller again, who is not fully convinced that Flynn was thrown out of the Mounties. There is a long trek through the snow to a mine shaft where crates are stored containing parts for a Bomber.. Eventually it's known that Flynn is still working for the police as he tries to sabotage the expedition, unsuccessfully. Gene Lockhart finds the going tough, and suffers from frostbite, after resting for a few hours, the group is ready to move off, but Lockhart says he can't go any further, and is shot . The Eskimo is also shot when he has outlived his usefullness.

The group arrive at the mine shaft, and Flynn is ordered to help with carrying the crates out; once this is done, he is locked in a room, while the parts are assembled and a bomber is built, with the intention of bombing the main waterway between the U.S. and Canada to disrupt the shipping of war materials. As the engines of the bomber are started, the order is given for Flynn to be shot. He manages to overpower his killer, and puts on his uniform, and gets about the plane. There is a gun battle on board, with the crew and finally the pilot being killed. Flynn manages to put on a parachute and bail out as the plane dives into the ground. In the next scene, the truth is revealed, that Flynn was not a traitor; he is reunited with his fiancee, and a wedding takes place.

The film was directed by Raoul Walsh, and was the first film for producer Jack Chertock after leaving MGM. He went on to work in television, making all the B&W episodes of 'The Lone Ranger'.

The story had originally appeared in the June and July,1942 issues of'Adventure' magazine. Warner Brothers bought the rights to the story in August of that year, and put together a script called 'The Last Man', before learning that Paramount Studios had the name on its permanently protected list. After a brief change to 'Night Shift', 'Northern Pursuit' became the title that stuck. The main filming location was Sun Valley, Idaho, in order to use real snow. Forty two sets were built, all but two were snow covered.. Raoul Walsh wrote to Jack warner at his request to find out if Flynn was generally behaving himself, and was told that Errol was turning up for work every day, and spending long hours reading his script and rehearsing. In May, 1943, when shooting was almost completed, Errol collapsed on the set, and had to be rushed to hospital, where the official statement was that he was 'Suffering from the recurrence of an upper respiratory ailment'. What the press hadn't been told was that he was suffering from Tuberculosis. After filming had finished, both Flynn and Walsh treated themselves to a vacation in Mexico City.

Although a fine team of writers were employed to work on the script, including Frank Grubah, Alvar Bessie, and William Faulkner, the critics and filmgoers were generally unimpressed when the film was released in November 1943. It has been called a pale imitation of 'The 49th Parallel' (1941)

I last saw this on TV in the UK nearly 49 years ago; and frequently, when the subject of Errol Flynn came up in our house, the question would be asked 'Why don't the BBC show that film where Errol Flynn plays a Mountie?'. It's not been available to buy for home use in the UK,

I was very pleased to be able to get this in 16mm, and it was the 2nd feature that I bought. It's one of those TV prints that has low contrast, but you can't have everything. Other than that it's in perfect condition with all it's original leaders and tails. The screenshots are not too good, and were taken from some video clips I did. I've since watched this several times, to make up for all the years it was not seen. Unfortunately, I was unable to start collecting the bigger guage until after my father had passed away. He would have loved to have seen the films I have now as we had a shared taste.











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RE: Northern Pursuit (1943)

#2 by Greg Perry , Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:43 pm

Robert,
Another great review/report! Seems like Flynn was still in his prime when he made this film? I read his bio on imdb.com and it sure is interesting.
Quite surprised at how many films he made over the two plus decades he was active. How many Errol Flynn films do you have in total?
I too find it very hard to get decent pics of a film during projection, wish I could stumble on the secret.


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RE: Northern Pursuit (1943)

#3 by Mark Mander ( deleted ) , Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:26 pm

Thanks for the review Robert,Not a film I've seen before but sounds like it wasn't shown much on tv etc.


Can be hard to get decent pics Greg,I struggle sometimes on my phone,the digital camera I used was pretty good but I don't have that option now as I don't have a computer/laptop. This phone was making the black and white prints look yellow at times but on screen it looked great,Mark



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RE: Northern Pursuit (1943)

#4 by Robert Crewdson , Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:29 pm

Hi Greg,
I have the following Errol Flynn films
The Charge of the Light Brigade (16mm)
Northern Pursuit (16mm)
Mara Maru (16mm)
Master of Ballantrae (16mm)
Santa Fe Trail (Super 8)
Charge of the Light Brigade production trailer (Super8)
Errol Flynn trailer reel (Super 8)
The Sword of Villon (Super 8)
The Sea Hawk (Derann extract)
Also have two reels of Warner Breakdowns (Bloopers) that has clips by Flynn, Bogart.

I was just reading today that Jack Warner said that Flynn's decay started in 1946. He still gave 100%, but his face was showing the effects of drink.

I find that I can get better screenshots using my smartphone,than using a compact camera. It's still difficult to get images that are sharp.

This is the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmveQVTNd8A



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Last edited 06.24.2018 | Top

RE: Northern Pursuit (1943)

#5 by Tom Photiou , Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:06 am

Another top review there Robert. I never realised Errol Flynn had done so many movies and of so many subjects. Is there a title you still want to find? you never know, list it on here someone may have one.
I am often surprised with so many digital TV channels we have now, how so many of the decent movies are never or rarely shown. All of your titles are prime examples. I see on ebay there is a 16mm print of a Billy Connelly Docu/Show called big banana feet, it states in the listing, no longer available on any other format. I tried to find it but he is spot on, nothing on any format other than this 16mm print on sale. (slightly off topic there)
Thankfully we have 16mm for these rare items.
Robert, your screenshots look fine to me.


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RE: Northern Pursuit (1943)

#6 by Robert Crewdson , Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:25 am

I let a few go in the beginning because being new to the buying of 2nd hand films, I was looking for the best condition. Now I go for the title, as long as there are no serious defects, like titles missing or short. A lot of these older films that we were brought up on are not being shown on TV, apart from Talking Pictures, and Movies for Men. The problem is that a lot of these Hollywood giants are in danger of being forgotten. Every Xmas in the 60s the BBC used to show the Robert Youngson compilations, like 'Days of Thrills and Laughter' . Probably a lot of people under 40 won't know who Ben Turpin, Chester Conklin, Harold Lloyd, and others are. To my generation they were household names.


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RE: Northern Pursuit (1943)

#7 by Eivind Mork , Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:51 am

I have been busy for a few days and didn't see this before now. Thanks for a great review! I haven't heard about this film before, but it is a type of WWII I would sure like. Sound a bit similar to Where Eagles Dare in the sense that you are not sure who is on which side during the film.


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RE: Northern Pursuit (1943)

#8 by Robert Crewdson , Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:30 pm

Have you heard of the Errol Flynn film 'Edge of Darkness', that's about the occupation of Norway.


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RE: Northern Pursuit (1943)

#9 by Eivind Mork , Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:50 pm

Oh, no I haven't. That's something I would like to see for sure! Thanks for the tip!


 
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RE: Northern Pursuit (1943)

#10 by Robert Crewdson , Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:04 pm


 
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RE: Northern Pursuit (1943)

#11 by Tom Photiou , Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:07 pm

Robert, i have to say, there are people who i work with in their 20s who do have not heard of Laurel and Hardy, can you believe that?
Also, my Daughters Boyfriend, 25, has never watched a L & H. I was stunned. I offered to show one but they were too busy texting. Jeepers!!!!
As you say, in time so many people will not know who some of the greats are. sad!


Looking for, Joe Kidd / The Outlaw Josey Wales on 16mm. Good prints only.


 
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RE: Northern Pursuit (1943)

#12 by Robert Crewdson , Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:17 pm

It's very sad Tom that all these great actors can be forgotten. Although TV was responsible for the demise of the cinema, it's also been a saviour of film, as many films would have been left in vaults forgotten; but TV needed films to show, and I know most of these actors through television. It's been good and bad at the same time. without TV how many films and DVDs would have been sold.


 
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RE: Northern Pursuit (1943)

#13 by Greg Perry , Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:16 pm

Robert,
"Edge of Darkness" - I watched a bit of this from the link you posted. Some good action scenes near the end as the Norwegian townspeople stand up to the Nazi's. Very interesting this was made in 1943 (as was Northern Pursuit) when WWII was still well underway and yet to be decided by any means...
Definitely worth a watch! This would be a good addition to your Errol Flynn film collection for sure!


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RE: Northern Pursuit (1943)

#14 by Eivind Mork , Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:44 pm

Thanks for the heads up! I will definitely look into this!


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