Northern Pursuit – 1943 – English
Film directed in 1943 by Raoul Walsh, and starring Errol Flynn, Julie Bishop, Helmut Dantine, John Ridgely, Gene Lockhart, Tom Tully…
Synopsis: A Canadian policeman (Errol Flyn) of German origin arrests a Nazi spy. When the prisoner manages to escape, the policeman does not give up and pretends to be a deserter to infiltrate the Nazis. Espionage thriller with large doses of action and adventure set in the vastness of the white Canadian mountains.
Review: From the opening scene with a German submarine smashing through the ice in Hudson Bay to the climactic showdown in a bomber overhead, Northern Pursuit is a powerhouse thrill every time.
Not surprisingly, with all the high-powered talent that Warner Brothers threw into this enjoyable WWII action flick. Lead action director Raoul Walsh directs top action star Errol Flynn from a screenplay by popular Western writer Frank Gruber and upper-class novelist William Faulkner.
Helmut Dantine provides solid support for the cheerful Julie Bishop, Tom Tully, John Ridgely and Gene Lockhart in another of what was becoming his Nazi sympathizing role. Sid Hickox’s top-notch camera work and smooth editing typical of films from this era combine studio settings and Idaho ski resort locations with deftly dovetail background mats to so successfully convince us that we were over the top. of the Arctic Circle, it gave me the chills at times.
The action is fueled by Adolphe Deutsch’s best scores, encouraged by some input from the great Max Steiner. The story of German descent, Mountie Flynn, penetrating a Nazi-sympathetic Canadian spy organization that cooperates with escaped German POWs maintains suspense and interest throughout. The sharply directed action includes an avalanche, a prison camp escape, a grisly ski chase, and a shootout in a mine shaft. Characterization and acting are first class. Dantine’s Nazi colonel is particularly well done. This Austrian refugee actor certainly knew what real-life Nazis were like. He had had to flee his home country due to his anti-Nazi activities.
Nothern Pursuit is an “A” production war / intrigue thriller, effective WWII propaganda but nice, exciting, and mellow entertainment from the golden years of Warner Brothers and Old Hollywood.