Arctic Flight


1h 18m 1952

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 19, 1952
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 8 Oct 1952
Production Company
Monogram Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Monogram Distributing Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Little Diomede Island, Alaska, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
7,055ft

Synopsis

Mike Wein, operator of a one-plane airline based in Kotzebue in the Arctic Circle, receives a U.S. government contract to fly schoolteacher and nurse Martha Raymond to the U.S. island Little Diomede, just across the international date line from the Russian- owned Big Diomede Island. There is no visible boundary line between the two islands and they can be reached on foot when the sea is frozen. The Russians have anti-aircraft guns, so Mike, concerned about unknowingly invading Russian air space, lands his light plane some distance from the village to which Martha is headed and they continue, through a storm, by dog sled. At the village, Martha is welcomed by local Catholic priest Father Fran├žois and Eskimo Miksook, who explains that the previous teacher inadvertently crossed the date line and was shot and killed by the Russians. Before Mike returns to Kotzebue he tells Martha to radio him if she needs help. Mike then flies to Nome to pick up John W. Wetherby, a wealthy Michigan businessman, who is paying Mike three thousand dollars to take him on an aerial, polar bear hunt. Bad flying weather delays the hunt and the jovial Wetherby spends most of his time in the only bar in Kotzebue. There he witnesses a fistfight between Mike and Joe Durgan, who earlier crashed Mike's only other plane. Eventually the skies clear and Mike and Wetherby take off, but fail to spot any bears. Later, Martha comes to Kotzebue with a sick child who needs treatment at the hospital, and joins Mike and Wetherby at an Eskimo dance. Martha assumes that an Eskimo woman, Saranna Koonuk, is Mike's girl friend and makes an inappropriate remark. Mike quickly responds that he is not in love with Saranna, but if he were, the fact that she is an Eskimo would not hinder their romance. The next, morning, Martha tells Mike that Wetherby has given her a cash donation for the school's library and has expressed an interest in visiting Little Diomede. Another day passes without a polar bear being sighted and Wetherby, a licensed pilot, asks if he can fly the plane the next day. As they are about to leave, Saranna tells Mike that his old hunting companion, Dave Karluck, has been mauled by a polar bear while trying to save a family in vain. Dave's leg is badly injured but he is cheered when Saranna agrees to marry him. Mike and Wetherby fly to the attack site, and after Wetherby kills the polar bear from the air with his high-powered rifle, Mike lands on the ice and they skin the animal. When they are about to leave, Wetherby's wallet falls out of his pocket and Mike sees an identity card entitling Wetherby to enter Russian territory. As they re-board the plane, Wetherby appears to slip accidentally and stabs Mike in the shoulder with a skinning knife. Concerned that Mike could suffer an infection from the knife, Wetherby insists on flying him to Martha at Little Diomede where she treats the wound. Mike tells Martha that the stabbing was no accident and that he suspects Wetherby is a Russian agent as he is carrying an entry card for Big Diomede. Mike also realizes that the bear hunt was just a ruse to enable Wetherby to take photographs of the territory. Martha, however, thinks that Mike is delirious and does not believe him until after she finds the entry card in Wetherby's jacket. When Wetherby sees Martha looking at the card and attacks her, Mike intervenes but is knocked out by Wetherby. Wetherby then gathers his belongings and heads across the ice to Big Diomede, losing a packet that contains his entry card as he leaves. Mike recovers, opens the packet and finds photographs of military installations as well as microfilm. Mike then decides not to go after Wetherby, preferring to let the Russians deal with him. As Wetherby runs toward two Russian sentries, he discovers he does not have his papers and turns back, but is shot and killed by the sentries. Later, Martha decides that she is in love with Mike.

Film Details

Release Date
Oct 19, 1952
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 8 Oct 1952
Production Company
Monogram Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Monogram Distributing Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Little Diomede Island, Alaska, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 18m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Film Length
7,055ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to the onscreen credits, the title of Ewing Scott's original story was "Shadow of the Curtain." A January 31, 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that parts of this film were shot on Little Diomede Island in Alaska. According to the Variety review, Ewing Scott directed most of the Alaskan footage, but was replaced by Lew Landers after a flare-up of an old leg injury. Although a Monogram production sheet credits Raoul Kraushaar with music, Edward J. Kay is credited with musical supervision both onscreen and in a corrected production sheet submitted by the studio on July 24, 1952.