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The Wild North

The Wild North(1952)


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The film's working titles were The Wild North Country, The North Country and The Constable Pedley Story. Hollywood Reporter news items include Tudor Owen, Terry Wilson, Ed Jauregi, Paul Stader, George Bruggeman, Bert LeBaron, Bob Morgan, Lew Smith, Jack Sterling, Chris Schonberg and Allen Watson in the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter news items, the film's pressbook and a feature article in the November 1952 issue of American Cinematographer reveal the following information about the production: The character of "Constable Pedley" was inspired by a turn-of-the century North West Mounted Police officer named Albert Pedley. The constable was sent to capture a criminal in 1904, a particularly harsh winter in Canada. Despite months of loneliness and cruel weather, and falling victim to the "white madness" of snow country, Pedley carried on and brought his prisoner to justice. Most of the film was shot on location in and around Jackson Hole, Wyoming and along the Clearwater River in northern Idado. According to various contemporary sources, backgrounds were shot in February and March 1951 in Sun Valley, as well as along the Hood River and Galena Pass in Idaho. An April 8, 1951 New York Times feature article on the production indicated that filming, which could not take place across the Canadian border due to inclement weather, was scheduled to resume in June at "actual sites" of Pedley's journey near Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, but other sources, including the film's pressbook, indicate that only American locations were used.
       The Wild North was the first film to be shot on the newly developed Ansco Color professional film. According to an M-G-M News article on April 2, 1951 and American Cinematographer, John Arnold, M-G-M's executive director of photography, and John Nicholaus, head of the studio's film laboratory, had worked with Ansco for ten years to develop the new process, which had significant improvements over Ansco's earlier reversal 35mm color film. According to press releases and the American Cinematographer articles, advantages to the new Ansco Color over other processes was that it could be used in standard black and white cameras and was "processed in the studio laboratory with essentially the same facility as black and white film...[making] possible many time-saving steps in the handling, development and screening of daily rushes." An additional advantage noted in American Cinematographer was that the film was particularly good for "day for night" shooting, which was used significantly in The Wild North.
       According to a news item in The Toledo Blade that was dated 31 Mar, but did not specify a year, Paul Richardson, who was on leave from the U.S. Naval Academy, decided to confess that he had killed a man on 18 May of the previous year after sitting through two showings of The Wild North. The article quoted Richardson as saying that a line in the film, "The world is too wide to run away from sin," prompted his confession. The film's actual line, which was delivered by the dying "Father Simon," was "There's no wilderness wide enough to hide a sin."