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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 20 May 2017
I quite enjoy John Wayne westerns and this was a welcome addition to my collection.
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on 11 August 2017
One of the reasons I watched this film was Capucine in the role of a prostitute named Angel/Michelle. And then, I was pleasantly surprised that the movie was actually really good and fun.John Wayne is classic himself, hero of the story.
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on 15 August 2017
Saw the original in the early 1960s and wanted to see it again. Enjoyed the DVD, it's a good action comedy romp.
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on 15 March 2017
Very good condition
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VINE VOICEon 30 April 2005
Partners (John Wayne, Stewart Granger, and Fabiano Anthony Forte) who share an interest in a gold mine near Nome Alaska must fend off all sorts of claim jumpers and worse. In the middle of the struggle we realize the definite lack of available women. Due to the riggers of protecting the mine Stewart Granger (George) asks John Wayne (Sam) to retrieve his intended from Seattle.
John Wayne intends to fulfill the contract but finds a small hitch. The intended is already married. However everyone knows that one Frenchie is like another and if you can replace a departed pet then why not a departed ... well you get the idea.
On his return things get a little more complicated.
Who are the good people and who is the bad?
So watch the movie and see who gets the mine and who if anyone gets the girl.
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on 31 July 2007
Hathaway's genial directing style, with its frequently rich mise-en-scene, seemed to suit Wayne's later career, and some of the films which resulted remain firm favourites today. Before the overrated True Grit (1969) and the underrated Sons of Katie Elder (1965) came this typically rumbustious piece. Wayne's first real foray into self-mocking comedy, North to Alaska is not as broad humoured as McLagen's McLintock! (1963) but still suffers from a degree of sexism which some modern viewers may find annoying, others just ironic. It is redeemed by being a very good natured film with a strong set of performances by the central cast, as well as some handsome production values.

It's interesting that the film opens as the all-important `strike', at least in a conventional sense, has already happened. Despite the future depredations of Frankie Canon (a well-cast Ernie Kovacs), Sam (Wayne) and George (Granger) will continue to enjoy their new-found wealth. Sam in particular seems to be perpetually well heeled, with a thick wad of the folding stuff always to hand. These two prospectors are now concerned with a second, more pressing `mother lode' - this time of the heart. The film is less about rich seams of ore than the veins of romance, with Sam, George and Billy (Fabian) each doing their own emotional `prospecting'. When Sam heads South to recover George's fiance, it turns out that he is being just as adventurous as leading a pack

Hathaway was brought into the project after Richard Fleischer's departure, and the finished result shows an interesting balance between the veteran's predictably sure touch as well as the improvisational nature of some of the filming. Wayne apparently thought of the film as being little more than a contractual affair, and the great success of the finished product was presumably a surprise. While some modern viewers may balk at the comedic sound effects added during the two big fight scenes, more reminiscent of Tom and Jerry than a Western, arguably Wayne's great `jealousy scene' is one of the greatest sustained moments of comedy in the actor's career. It seems likely that Hathaway recognised this during filming, as he dwells upon this enjoyable moment (George pretending to make out with Angel in the Honeymoon Hut while Sam fumes across the water) as long as possible, giving the scene amplification and timing which would have been impossible to write into a script.

Being respectively indifferent, enthusiastic, and besotted, in their own ways Sam, George and Billy each represent varying attitudes to women and romance. It's their continuing education in such matters that's at the heart of the film, and provides the principal interest. Far more so than the claim-jumping plot which, while it provides some dramatic excitement and degree of suspense, is actually of little consequence. (It provides an useful parallel, though, when George assumes that Sam has usurped his `claim' on his newly arrived fiance's affections.). Sam's change of heart is fittingly the most momentous - moving from the cynical "(The) wonderful thing about Alaska is that matrimony hasn't hit up here yet." to the grudging public announcement "I love you!" to Angel, and the wedding bells that surely follow. Billy's romantic naivite also undergoes a transformation of sorts, as he experiences his first strong crush then gentle, inevitable rejection. By the end he has to reconcile the `loss' of Angel with Sam's obvious happiness. George's radical transformation of outlook (despite his slightly underwritten role), in which he journeys from starry-eyed fiance, via outraged suitor to gleeful romantic conspirator, while demanded by the story, is far fetched in dramatic terms. Would a man really be that fickle, and then that forgiving, in such a short length of time?. One wishes that the script had allowed us to see more of his earlier anguish, perhaps while Sam was absent fetching his longed-for fiance home.

North to Alaska is divided into two halves, covering respectively Sam's sojurn down south, then his return to Nome, Angel in tow. The broad comedy of romantic embarrassment so characteristic of the film is contained in the second half. That this is the most enjoyable part is no coincidence. Removed from his eager beaver partner, and with an absence of any cutting-back to Alaska during these scenes, while Wayne and Cappucine work well as an acting couple, their characters Sam and Angel need more context than they get to be effective dramatically. Angel's initial rejection at the social by the lake, then her response, does suggest the self possession of her character, which acquires a calm strength of its own. Its an explicit dignity, rarely accorded the Western whore, (a memorable example, albeit posthumous, exists in Ford's The Sun Shines Bright (1953)), although there are bad girls enough in the genre who try to make good.

As the love-puppyish Billy supporting the Duke, Fabian instantly recalls Ricky Nelson in Rio Bravo (1959) as `Colorado'. An obvious sop to the emerging younger audience, such a character can sit uneasily with the elder statesmen in a genre where a man's world, for the time being anyway, was that of mature men. Recognising this in Rio Bravo, Chance (Wayne) goes out of his way to praise and assimilate the youth into his world. A year on, as North to Alaska proceeds, Billy is less assured as a character, thus easily dismissed by an overriding Wayne/Sam. The youngster is clearly out of his depth in the love-making contest - just as (one is tempted to add) Fabian the actor is sandwiched unsatisfactorily on screen, between a larger than life Wayne and the experienced Stewart Granger. Extracting what pathos there is from his one note character, especially in the long cabin dining scene with Angel, he manages a final, if understated reconciliation with the idea that Sam is the victor in love.

Its apt that Hathaway's `Alaska' was actually much closer to Hollywood (being filmed at Point Mugu, California). Ultimately it is a warm-hearted, forgiving film which just happens to be set in a cold place. Perhaps the humanity of a rare Western with few or no deaths on screen is what sustains its popularity. Or it could be because a genial Wayne was allowed to relax into a role so successfully. Either way, it is still revived frequently.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 7 October 2015
I must say that, for a normal-length almost 2-hour film, this seemed to go on forever. A lot happens, not always to good effect. The movie looks gorgeous.
Thing is, it's a tale that could have been told in half the time, but here we have seasoned director Henry Hathaway (never a 'great director' but always a pro) encouraging his excellent cast to play what is a pleasing story as near-farce, emphasising the cartoon elements, and - even though it was a cliche way back in 1960 - giving Wayne a character who, despite his obvious worldliness, is scared of women, doesn't understand them, misunderstands them at every opportunity, etc, etc. Cue for much humourless 'farce' involving a rather good Stewart Granger (albeit absent for much of the film) who works well with Wayne, and their young sidekick, played as well as could be expected by teenage pop singer Fabian! He's not too bad at all - though not nearly so effective as Rick Nelson in Howard Hawks's Rio Bravo a year earlier. (Interesting to note that Elvis was not that much better an actor, even in his best films - eg. King Creole, Flaming Star - than his less charismatic peers.)
The Duke is superb in a role he could have played in his sleep, hog-tied and drunk and standing on one leg. Stewart Granger looks relaxed and genuinely happy for once, and Ernie Kovacs (who died, after a handful of films, aged 42) is an effectively slimy baddie, always on the lookout for a deviously good deal. We don't really see enough of him in the bulk of the film, which is a shame since his character could have been developed more than it is.
The best thing in the film - which by the way is set in Alaska during the Gold Rush - by quite a long way is the character of 'Angel' as played by French actress Capucine. She plays every scene totally truthfully, while obviously realising she is being asked to act out what is no more than hokum. But she is wonderful in fact, giving Wayne, Granger, Kovacs, and even Fabian something real to play off.
Capucine, a troubled woman by the sound of it, had a tragic end, hurling herself suicidally off a high balcony at the age of 62. She was a subtle and generous actress, and often rose above dire material (eg. What's New Pussycat). She is a fine foil for Wayne. He seems to know it too.
A very enjoyable film, if a negligible 'western', that is well directed by the rather stolid Hathaway, and acted with a kind of dogged relish by an eclectic cast. Worth seeing at least once. I'm hanging on to my copy, for a piquant reminder of Capucine, and for one more fragrant memory of John Wayne in his gallant prime.

Very enjoyable.
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2004
Partners (John Wayne, Stewart Granger, and Fabiano Anthony Forte) who share an interest in a gold mine near Nome Alaska must fend off all sorts of claim jumpers and worse. In the middle of the struggle we realize the definite lack of available women. Due to the riggers of protecting the mine Stewart Granger (George) asks John Wayne (Sam) to retrieve his intended from Seattle.
John Wayne intends to fulfill the contract but finds a small hitch. The intended is already married. However everyone knows that one Frenchie is like another and if you can replace a departed pet then why not a departed ... well you get the idea.
On his return things get a little more complicated. Who are the good people and who is the bad? So watch the movie and see who gets the mine and who if anyone gets the girl.
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on 1 March 2004
In 1960 John Wayne starred in this action/comedy film, set on the Alaska Gold Rush of the beginning of the XX century.
Acording to some biographers, Wayne accepted to do this film still on the production of "The Alamo", based only in the sugestive title of a scrip yet unwritten and the assurance that it would be directed by the efficient Henry Hathaway.
North to Alaska is an agreeable ligth comedy with good interpretations by Wayne and Stweart Granger and the interesting presences of young singer Fabian and the European beauty Cappucine.
This DVD is presented in 2.35/1 aspect ratio and the print is good enough presenting nice color.The sound was remastered to 4.0, wich allows us to kind of rediscover the classic title tune, a hit by Johnny Horton in 1960. Well worth the price !!!
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on 22 January 2014
Well Guys,
First things first,North to Alaska blu-ray us import is REGION FREE!!!!!!!!
Now,I bought this for my "xmas",it,s a sentimental buy for me,seen it first time around at the Cinema,I was about 10/11,this blu-ray is the BEST it,s looked,sharp as a tack,a real credit to the guys who restored/remastered this for blu-ray,it was a pleasure watching it,HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all fans of North to Alaska.
Davy Cairns,Scotland.
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