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Northern Pursuit
Year:
1943
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, Adventure, War, Romance
IMDB rating:
6.6
Director:
Raoul Walsh
John Ridgely as Jim Austin
Julie Bishop as Laura McBain
Bernard Nedell as Tom Dagor
Helmut Dantine as Col. Hugo von Keller
Tom Tully as Inspector Barnett
Alec Craig as Angus McBain
Gene Lockhart as Ernst
Monte Blue as Jean
Errol Flynn as Cpl. Steve Wagner
Warren Douglas as Sergeant (scenes deleted)
Storyline: Canadian Mountie Steve Wagner captures a German Luftwaffe officer on a spy mission, who later escapes from the prison camp. To catch the spy ring, the Mounties employ a ruse so that the spies, believing Steve to be sympathetic, enlist him in their plans.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
DVD-rip 640x480 px 1393 Mb mpeg4 2084 Kbps mkv Download
Reviews
In like Flynn
***SPOILERS*** The usual WWII Hollywood propaganda flick involving Canadian Mountie Cpl. Steve Wagner played by Australian/American Errol Flynn-All three countries fighting for the allied side-doing his bit for the cause by betraying his country and joining the Nazis so he can find out what their up to and then turning the tables on them. It's when Nazi airman Col. Hugo Von Keller,Helmut Dantine, is found almost frozen to death in the Canadian wild that Wagner-a Canadian of German decent-wins him over by playing traitor to his country Canada and offering to help Hugo in sabotaging the allied war effort.

With his partner in the Mounties Jim Austin, John Ridgely, in on the shame he trails Hugo and his fellow Nazis, who just escaped from a Stalg 17 like POW camp camp,,to where their going in the northern Canadian wood along with Wagner's girlfriend Laura McMcBain played by Julie Bishop- You can't make a movie with Errol Flynn not having a love interest in it-who somehow got hooked up with the group tagging along. It's not that long when the hugely intelligent Hugo-He must have an IQ of at least 100-realizes that Wagner is in fact conning him and trying to find out what he's really up to and has Austin shot and killed when he tried to join, as a fellow Nazi, his group. But Hugo-Using his head or noodle-can't have Wagner/Flynn knocked off since he's not only the star of the movie but the only one who knows his way around and how to survive in the bitter cold and snowy Canadian woods.

***SPOILERS*** You know something is screwy here when it's revealed by a boastfully Hugo what he's planning to do in assembling from scratch a Nazi bombing plane hidden in a cave with 4 bombs on it to cut the supply line between Cannada and the US by single handily knocking out the locks-Not lox-of the critical Saint Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic Ocean! This insane plan was doomed to failure right from the start but don't tell that to Hugo that delusional and overconfident Nazi creep! It's Hugo who ends up together with his dinky bomber and his fellow Nazis on board crashing into and sinking to the bottom of Hudon's Bay! With our hero a wounded but quickly recovered Cpl. Steve Wagner who snuck on the plane, and was shot by Hugo, who blasted a wild eyed Hugo and while still badly wounded parachuted to safety, Where did he learn to do that in the Canadian Mounties?, and straight into the arms of his girlfriend Laura; Whom he married when the film ended!
2016-09-23
The Plane, Errol, The Plane
In Northern Pursuit, the brothers Warner tried to adapt the earlier Humphrey Bogart film, Across the Pacific to a story about our neighbors to the north. What I think they were trying for was a repeat of the critical and popular success the British film, the 49th Parallel enjoyed. I'm sure Errol Flynn's name above the title sold a few tickets back in the day, but as for drama Northern Pursuit is one of the more laughable examples of wartime propaganda zeal.

Like in 49th Parallel a group of Nazis get over to Canada, but they're going to the great frozen north instead of away from it. And they nearly all get killed in an landslide, mistakenly called an avalanche in the script. All, but Helmut Dantine.

Errol Flynn finds him and he's a Mountie of German ancestry, a fact that Dantine tries to exploit. Later on when Dantine escapes to try and complete his original mission, Flynn joins him and this is where the plot of the film looks just like Across the Pacific. If you've seen that film, you know exactly what happens here.

If Flynn looks a little disinterested in the whole business, it's probably not just the story that's doing it. Errol was fresh from his acquittal in that rape trial so I'm sure he had other things on his mind.

Seen today, Northern Pursuit is unintentionally funny in many spots, it's one of the low points of Flynn's career at Warner Brothers.
2007-04-11
The sled dogs had it right
This is a real bow-wow.

Errol Flynn stars in "Northern Pursuit," a 1943 propaganda film directed by Raoul Walsh. It also stars Helmut Dantine, Gene Lockhart, and Julie Bishop.

Walsh told a story of how Jack Warner used to call him up to his office and tell him he had to direct a script for him. Warner would have no details, not even the cast. "Some bum," he would say, when Walsh asked him who was in it. This scenario might have been the case for "Northern Pursuit." Flynn and Walsh were very close friends, but they both might have been blind-sided into this one by dear old Jack.

The premise story concerns Nazis in Canada who are trying to get way into the Canadian wilderness, where parts of a bomber have been hidden. Once assembled, it's going to take out the St. Lawrence Seaway. More than a little preposterous. Flynn is a mountie whose character is of German descent, so he goes undercover and, knowing the area, helps the Nazis on their journey.

Even if you ignore this plot, and you have to in order to get through the movie, it's pretty slow going. There are some exciting scenes, but this isn't your usual Flynn adventure film. Helmut Dantine and Gene Lockhart give excellent performances, though, and handsome, charismatic Flynn does as well as he can given the circumstances.

A youngster on this board trashed this movie, the 1940s audiences, and propaganda films in general, making mention of the "special effects." Given that this was filmed on a Warner sound stage without benefit of CGI and a computer, the film looks pretty good, with some very effective effects. I don't think the 1940s audiences were stupid -rather, I think the audiences today have been dumbed down. Propaganda movies weren't so that audiences would hate the enemy. I have a feeling they already did. They were done to keep up the morale during a very difficult time in this country. "Northern Pursuit" isn't particularly representative of the genre. When you consider the number of films the studios put out, they had a very high number of excellent ones. Okay, so this isn't one of them.
2009-10-18
Errol of the Mounties
Errol Flynn was a fascinating screen presence. Just look at how many books have been written about him including a couple he wrote himself. I found a good dozen on Amazon before I stopped counting. Some well-known actors and filmmakers often have only one biography or even none at all.

"Northern Pursuit" isn't the best of his movies, but it is Flynn at his best. He looks in great shape despite the fact that he had a dicky ticker, a bad back, tuberculosis, a couple of exotic diseases picked up along the way and a liver that was in more danger of destruction than any target of the Nazis in the film.

Set in Canada during WW2, Errol plays Steve Wagner, a Royal Canadian Mountie of German Ancestry whose loyalty is questioned when he comes across Nazi secret agents who are planning to bomb a canal that is critical to the Allied war effort.

Although the story feels cobbled together, the film looks good. Most of it was shot on the sound stage and no doubt a great deal of talcum powder and papier mache was employed, but the sequence where a U-Boat breaks through the ice and scenes such as the avalanche are brilliantly staged.

However the stars make the film. Although Errol was rarely upstaged, Helmut Dantine was Warner's go-to Nazi guy during the war years. He plays Colonel Hugo von Keller in this film. The reason why Dantine was more effective than many screen Nazis at the time was the degree of intelligence with which he approached his roles. He was no off-the-rack, monocled Nazi stereotype, he came across as vigorous, smart and fanatical; a formidable enemy, he was also good looking and often got the best lines.

If you like the stars, and Flynn was absolutely unique, then there is much to enjoy here. In fact the film was a bit of a turning point for him– he even got a laugh with an in-joke at the end alluding to his recent acquittal on rape charges. From that point on he went along with the joke about his sexual prowess although those who knew him felt that it hurt his desire to be taken seriously as an actor.

Finally, for anyone with a sense of history, "Northern Pursuit" is a fascinating insight into what audiences were watching during the war even if they took it all with a generous pinch of salt.
2016-10-07
The most believable fictional war drama ever! Oops! What am I saying?
As anticipated, Errol Flynn typically brought down the house with his last line: "What am I saying?", while glancing at the audience, after cheerfully agreeing that his new bride Laura(Julie Bishop) is the only girl he ever loved. This was part of a running gag, as Laura's notoriously frugal Scottish father (Alec Craig) had just done this line, after agreeing to pay for the expensive wedding reception.

How very ironic that Helmut Dantine: former leader of the anti-Nazi activists of Hitler's former hometown: Vienna, should be fated to play evil Nazi leaders in several war propaganda -slanted Hollywood films released during WWII.

Presumably, the take home message for contemporary audiences was that North Americans had better be wary of Axis spies and sabotage attempts, even in the heartland, which was directly reachable by Nazi U boats, via Hudson's Bay. Also, Americans and Canadians of rather recent German immigrants should be kept under surveillance as potential spies and saboteurs. In fact, there was a Nazi-worshipping organization in the USA, although it deemphasized its support of Germany after Hitler declared war on the US. Fortunately, history proved such fears unfounded. In fact, it seems remarkable that Nazi and Japanese attempts at sabotage in North America, either by residents there or by outsiders, were virtually non-existent. In this respect, the message of this film seems very dated, as of no real relevance to the war. The far-fetched details of the screen-play also don't help a possible recommendation of this film.

The screenplay begins with a Nazi submarine surfacing near an ice-choked western shore of Hudson's Bay, offloading a number of airmen, who somehow walk across the treacherous floating chunks of ice, to the shore, with skis, for a 5 day trip over snow to an abandoned mine shaft in northern Saskatchewan, where pieces of a bomber have been stored in crates since before WWII began.(Never mind that Hitler never expected to have to fight the British Commonwealth and France, in his goal to conquer the USSR!). Just how these crates were transported to this mine, hidden among mining equipment, is not apparent, as this area is now accessible overland in winter only by foot.

The fliers are soon met by a local contact, who brings them instructions from an agent from the US(Gene Lockhart, as Ernst Willis), as well as Native American guides, who are promptly dispatched when they refuse to guide the party over a dangerous pass in the Canadian Rockies(which have been magically transposed to near the shore of Hudson's Bay!). The Germans are served poetic justice when all except their leader and pilot, Dantine, soon die in an(unrealistically -staged) avalanche, as the NAs had feared. Dantine skis on until near death from exhaustion and cold, burying his instruction packet in the snow. Mounties Wagner(Flynn) and Jim, inexplicably wandering around in this wilderness, find Dantine and transport him to their cabin. Wearing a German flier's uniform, they arrest him as a prisoner of war. However, discovering that Wagner is of recent German decent, Dantine tries to recruit him as an accomplice. Wagner comes under suspicion at headquarters as he dallies in bringing Dantine in. Wagner quits the Mounties, since they are suspicious of his loyalty, and is arrested after flattening several Mounties and damning Canada. Meanwhile, Dantine is sent to an internment camp, from which he soon escapes with a fresh set of German fliers. Willis bails Wagner out of jail, then asks him to help guide him to the mine, first by train, which they jump off, then by foot. Later, it's clear that Willis and Dantine suspect Wagner is still a RCMP agent, pretending to cooperate with them(even though the regional RCMP don't seem to know anything about this!). Wagner's girlfriend unexpectedly shows up(arranged by Willis for his own purpose). Dantine eventually kills Willis and Jim, who is lurking near the camp. They move on to the mine and put the bomber together(mere child's play!). Wagner now starts stealthily killing the Germans, one by one, then masquerades as one of the crew(very unlikely!), killing the crew as they fly toward their bombing target, causing the plane to spin out of control. A wounded Wagner parachutes to 'safety', somewhere in the wilderness.(How he survives a walk back to an outpost of civilization is left unexplored!). The film ends with a celebration of Wagner's accomplishment and marriage to Laura.

It's difficult to give an overall assessment of this film. Obviously the screenplay has many gaping plausibility problems. If you're willing to overlook these, it's a cleverly assembled cat and mouse drama with a message. Although never specified, the clues given suggest the bombing target was the Soo Locks between Lakes Superior and Huron, far to the southeast of the mine. This was a complicated and very unlikely way to achieve that goal. A much simpler way would have been to load a ship with explosives and detonate them while in the lock(True, suicidal for the crew).

The light bomber shown was a Lockheed Hudson, many of which were shipped in parts to the RAF in crates and assembled there, mainly used for anti-submarine operations, training, and surveillance. One was previously featured in "Desperate Journey", also starring Flynn.
2014-11-19
Needs No Southern Exposure
Some might dismiss this film as typical Hollywood propaganda...and they may be right, to a certain extent. But I dig old movies because they do not often cloud the issues, and the good guys and bad guys are not hard to pinpoint, unless you are watching a real mystery of some sort. There is some mystery here, though not the type Ellery Queen would flaunt. Nazis came through to the American continent during WWII in numbers that would make us all more uncomfortable than we would admit. Canada had its share, for sure, and the RCMP had its work cut out for it. People often forget that prior to the hostilities of that war, there existed something called the "German/American" Bund, and that the majority of immigrants to this nation are of Germanic descent. To the Germans, this made the pickings good if they could get a smooth talking German to make the point and gain converts. That is the premise here, with Flynn and his Mountie buddy making a bust of these interlopers. But Flynn blows it, does not make an arrest, and things start to look as if he is a traitor to the Crown. Turns out, it is an orchestration to merely find out what these Nazi chumps are up to...but the price is an horrific one. Lives are lost along the way, some needlessly and even a few Nazis are thrown to the wolves by their own kith and kin. Flynn's WWII efforts are particularly appealing because of his suavete, his accent, and his general bearing. These may seem un-American to some, but he was, actually, quite Patriotic for the times. WWII movies are very entertaining because WWII can be viewed as more if a "just war", if anything can be imagined...and a lot of heart and passion went into many of the films, which were manned by the best directors and crews, and populated by some of the greatest of actors. This one does not approach the thresh-hold of 'great' by any means, but it is very entertaining. A worthy watch if you care to view it.
2010-10-01
A suspenseful movie
This is not a great movie, not Robin Hood or The Sea Hawk. But neither is it the bad movie some of the previous reviewers suggest.

I found it very suspenseful.

If you try viewing it as the original, intended audience did back in 1943, when the U.S. was not winning the war in Europe and there were fears of German infiltration everywhere, you can imagine how relevant this story would have been to audiences.

Tension is maintained for much of the movie by keeping us in suspense regarding Flynn's character's allegiances. No, of course we can't believe he's really a Nazi, but for the first half of the movie, it certainly seems as if he might be.

I was surprised, and thrown off guard, by the number of "good guys" who got killed in this movie. That made it seem more real to me.

The last scene is pure Hollywood, and pure corn. But up until then, there is a lot to admire and enjoy in this movie.
2016-09-21
Entertaining enough but lacking in action and tension.
This movie is entertaining and good enough but from an Errol Flynn movie you would normally expect some more fireworks. The story for most part is good but the movie is lacking in both some action and real tension, which makes this movie a bit of a bore to watch.

The movie begins well and promising. The story seems solid but some unlikely and ridicules events in the story almost completely ruin the movie its story and credibility. Especially the ending is disappointing as well as ridicules, when the Nazi's are building a complete bomber from the parts that are in a couple of crates. It's ridicules and helps to make this movie a bit of a disappointing one. The movie also begins to drag pretty fast after the promising beginning. The second halve of the movie is especially a bore, when it starts to drag on for too long.

Still it entertains enough to make this movie still a watchable one. Errol Flynn plays his character well and convincing and proofs that he can still play a great leading man, even when the movie itself is a lacking one.

The movie would had been a so much better one if it had had some more action and tense moments in it. It instead now falls flat as well as an action movie as a WW II thriller.

The story itself is original and interesting enough, had it not been filled with so many ridicules moments. It's also sort of ridicules to see how morally right and the Errol Flynn character is but that is sort of a trademark for all the characters he ever played. And of course the Nazi's in this movie are made out to look as ruthless cold-hearted villains. It's pretty obvious that this movie was of course a piece of anti-Nazi propaganda, released in 1943.

Still watchable, as long as you don't expect too much fireworks from it or of Flynn.

6/10

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2006-08-03
Northern Pursuit-Counter-Espionage Familiar But Well Done Here ***1/2
The eyes of Helmut Dantine and Errol Flynn tell the entire story in this 1943 thriller. Both men know they can't trust each other and the former is quite diabolical in his attempt to bomb an area in Canada where supplies can be shipped to England.

Flynn takes the role of a Canadian, of German birth origin, who denounces Canada and is immediately removed from the police force there. Nazis take advantage of the situation and soon recruit him to go with them to the uppermost northern portion of the country to complete their evil plot. Gene Lockhart gives a fine supporting performance as a Canadian spy, a true patriot to the Third Reich, who learns what happens when you have completed your assignment and can now pose a hindrance.

Flynn gives a strong performance here as a scorned Canadian working in counter-intelligence for them.This is certainly A World War 11 interesting film.
2010-12-25
Dated
This movie from the Second World War will be enjoyed by those who are willing to watch old movies for their historical value. This one may interest those who are particularly interested in seeing how old Hollywood delivered wartime propaganda and treated Canadian themes. The rest may find this movie difficult to sit through. It's simply too dated. I'm giving it as lower score for that reason.

Raoul Walsh and the writers must have gone to some trouble to portray northern Manitoba in the 1940s realistically, but it is difficult to take a few of the scenes seriously (eg the downhill skiing). Those scenes are now laughable.

The depiction of the Cree of northern Manitoba is disturbing, in hindsight. They deserved better from Hollywood. If you'd like to better understand the complex situation of the Cree people in wartime and the loyalty and fighting prowess of the Cree soldiers (albeit during the First World War), read "Three Day Road" by Joseph Boyden.
2013-05-04
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