"Well, most people like it and I like it, and I'm working hard and trying to keep the cost down"

J. Russell Finch CEO & President
The Pacific Edible Seaweed Company
Fresno, CA.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

EMPEROR OF THE NORTH 1973

    



    Coming Sept. 8 on blu-ray from Twilight Time is Robert Aldrich's 1973 depression era action/drama EMPEROR ON THE NORTH. Upon the surface this would seem to have box office bonanza written all it - the director of such classics as THE DIRTY DOZEN reuniting with two of that films stars in the presence of Ernest Borgnine and Lee Marvin. Based upon a couple of short stories by Jack London, it was marketed as an "action" film in the vein of THE DIRTY DOZEN and as a result struggled at the box office and for years was MIA on home video until a DVD release in 2006.
    The sparse plot concerns a hobo named A-No.1 (Marvin) who takes up the challenge to hitch a ride upon a freight train guarded by a sadistic guard named Shack (Borgnine) who takes great pleasure in killing any unwelcome riders with Carradine being a cocky (and none too bright) youngster attempting to make a name for himself. The film was originally title EMPEROR OF THE NORTH POLE which was a slang term for the best hobo in the world, which in hobo parlance equates being king to the same as ruling over a frozen wasteland.  It was  quickly retitled with the shorter EMPEROR OF THE NORTH.
    Filmed in the Pacific Northwest and set in almost entirely in dirty train yards and strangely empty trains that travel back and forth between two points with everything seemingly just set up as props to let Marvin and Borgnine face off like gladiators. Excellent work by the two leads (with Borgnine in probably the most sadistic role of his career) and a strangely off key movie that is well worth seeking out.






No comments:

Post a Comment