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North West Mounted Police (21-Oct-1940)

Director: Cecil B. DeMille

Writers: Jesse Lasky, Jr.; Alan Lemay; C. Gardner Sullivan

From novel: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police by R. C. Fetherstonhaugh

Keywords: Action/Adventure

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
George Bancroft
30-Sep-1882 2-Oct-1956 Thunderbolt
Clara Blandick
4-Jun-1880 15-Apr-1962 Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz
Ralph Byrd
22-Apr-1909 18-Aug-1952 Dick Tracy
Rod Cameron
7-Dec-1910 21-Dec-1983 The Bounty Killer
Madeleine Carroll
26-Feb-1906 2-Oct-1987 The 39 Steps
Lane Chandler
4-Jun-1899 14-Sep-1972 The Legion of the Condemned
Lon Chaney, Jr.
10-Feb-1906 12-Jul-1973 The Wolf Man
Gary Cooper
7-May-1901 14-May-1961 High Noon
Richard Denning
27-Mar-1914 11-Oct-1998 Gov. Grey on Hawaii 5-O
Julia Faye
24-Sep-1893 6-Apr-1966 Silent film actress
Preston Foster
24-Aug-1900 14-Jul-1970 My Friend Flicka
Paulette Goddard
3-Jun-1910 23-Apr-1990 Reap the Wild Wind
Walter Hampden
30-Jun-1879 11-Jun-1955 Prominent American theater actor
Douglas Kennedy
14-Sep-1915 10-Aug-1973 Steve Donovan, Western Marshal
Montagu Love
15-Mar-1877 17-May-1943 British character actor
Lynne Overman
19-Sep-1887 19-Feb-1943 Reap the Wild Wind
Robert Preston
8-Jun-1918 21-Mar-1987 The Music Man
Willard Robertson
1-Jan-1886 5-Apr-1948 Remember the Night
Robert Ryan
11-Nov-1909 11-Jul-1973 Billy Budd
Akim Tamiroff
29-Oct-1899 17-Sep-1972 For Whom the Bell Tolls
Regis Toomey
13-Aug-1898 12-Oct-1991 Burke's Law


Review by Kasey Lord (posted on 6-Oct-2007)

Much maligned De Mille epic of the early 40s. Its plot, script and high-falutin' production values have provided easy targets for nit pickers and serious buffs blinded by the dazzle of its technicolour and the ripeness of its melodrama. Cecil B De Millie made movies for the masses; this was his first in colour and he never shot in black and white again. There's no doubt about the breathtaking blaze of his colour canvases and the pictorial artistry of his compositions; here they're often lyrical and beautiful. North West Mounted Police was apparenly shot on the Paramount backlot, although counter claims insist it was filmed on loaction in the Canadian Rockies. This is doubtful, although one of two of the later action sequences indicate a broader sweep that could hardly be accommodated on a backlot. De Mille loved stars and he uses them to great advantage in this film: He keeps Madeleine Carroll, Preston Foster and Robert Preston under tight rein. Foster's performance is dead straight, the epitome of the handsome leading man. Preston is the over-sexed stud whose carnal urges betray his comrades. He was so effective in the role that De Mille enouraged its clone a couple of years later in Reap the Wild Wind. Carroll is so delicious it hardly matters that the reading of her dialogue is surprisingly believable and intelligent. Paulette Goddard as the half-breed temptress is fetching and fascinating. Her changes of expression and the delivery of her florid dialogue are mesmerising; the ultimate in high camp yet strangely magnetic. Gary Cooper is mischevious. His tongue-in-cheek take on a Texas Ranger macho-footing around the Canadian landscape is close to parody; every time he opens his mouth there's a wicked gleam in his eye, and it's hard to believe that De Mille wasn't aware of it. North West Mounted Police is an intriguing film. It was aimed at the box office and scored a bullseye but underneath its commercial facade there runs a serious undercurrent of nobility. It surfaces in Walter Hampden's Indian Chief, in Preston Foster's level-headed sense of duty, In Madeleine Carroll's gentle humanity and in Robert Preston's tragic remorse. De Mille presents his spectacle in pretty trappings that diffuse its ambiguity: Look deeper and you'll see something that isn't always what it appears to be. Most movies are only for the moment. This one was wasn't and isn't. De Mille's showmanship can be truly haunting.

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