North West Mounted Police (film)
|Northwest Mounted Police|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Cecil B. DeMille|
|Produced by||Cecil B. DeMille|
|Written by||R. C. Fetherstonhaugh (novel The Royal Canadian Mounted Police) (uncredited)
Alan Le May
Jesse Lasky, Jr.
C. Gardner Sullivan
|Narrated by||Cecil B. DeMille|
|Music by||Victor Young|
|Cinematography||W. Howard Greene
|Editing by||Anne Bauchens|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||125 minutes|
North West Mounted Police (aka Cecil B. DeMille's North West Mounted Police) is a 1940 American action adventure film directed by Cecil B. DeMille; the screenplay was co-written by Alan Le May, Jesse Lasky, Jr. and C. Gardner Sullivan from the novel by R. C. Fetherstonhaugh. The film starred Gary Cooper, Madeleine Carroll and Paulette Goddard. The supporting cast features Preston Foster, Robert Preston, George Bancroft, Akim Tamiroff, Lon Chaney, Jr. and Robert Ryan.
North West Mounted Police was DeMille's first film in Technicolor. Released by Paramount Pictures, the film tells the story of a Texas Ranger who joins forces with the North-West Mounted Police to put down a rebellion in the north-west prairies of Canada.[N 1]
Texas Ranger Dusty Rivers (Gary Cooper) is sent to Canada during the 1880s in pursuit of outlaw Jacques Corbeau (George Bancroft), arriving in the midst of the Riel Rebellion. Dusty meets nurse April Logan (Madeleine Carroll) and quickly falls in love with her. However, she is already involved with Canadian Mountie Sergeant Jim Britt (Preston Foster). Dusty and April have become involved with one another, which becomes evident to Jim, to whom April wishes to remain loyal.
Meanwhile, April's brother, Ronnie Logan (Robert Preston), who also is a Mountie, is in love with Corbeau's daughter, Louvette (Paulette Goddard). Louvette loves Ronnie intensely and is determined to protect Ronnie in the coming fight at all costs, using Ronnie's feelings for her father's benefit at times.
Corbeau is eventually tracked down to his hideout. When the showdown between Dusty, the Mounties, and the supporters of Corbeau finally arrives, Louvette tricks Ronnie, and ties him to a chair to keep him safe, after he had given her information vital to the Mounties' planned attack on the outlaws. Ronnie is unable to warn his fellow Mounties and Rivers that they are riding into a trap. The lawmen are ambushed and think Ronnie is a deserter. Dusty Rivers helps to turn the tide of the battle and Sergeant Jim arrests Corbeau. Rivers tracks down Ronnie at Louvette's hideout and convinces him to turn himself in, however, he is killed in a case of mistaken identity.
Afterwards, Dusty Rivers is set to return to Texas, but first gives April and Jim his blessing.
As appearing in North West Mounted Police, (main roles and screen credits identified):
- Gary Cooper as Texas Ranger Dusty Rivers
- Madeleine Carroll as April Logan
- Paulette Goddard as Louvette Corbeau
- Preston Foster as Sergeant Jim Brett
- Robert Preston as Ronnie Logan
- George Bancroft as Jacques Corbeau
- Lynne Overman as Tod McDuff
- Akim Tamiroff as Dan Duroc
- Walter Hampden as Big Bear
- Lon Chaney, Jr. as Shorty
- Montagu Love as Inspector Cabot
- Francis McDonald as Louis Riel
- George E. Stone as Johnny Pelang
- Willard Robertson as Supt. Harrington
- Regis Toomey as Constable Jerry Moore
- Richard Denning as Constable Thornton
- Douglas Kennedy as Constable Carter
- Robert Ryan as Constable Dumont
- Ralph Byrd as Constable Ackroyd
- Rod Cameron as Constable Underhill
- Chief Thundercloud as Wandering Spirit
- David Dunbar as Vitale
Due to budget restrictions, North West Mounted Police was filmed at sound stages at the Paramount lot as well as on location in Oregon and California, even though the film was based on a real life incident in Saskatchewan, Canada. Principal photography began on March 5, 1939. Although Gary Cooper stars, the lead role was originally given to Joel McCrea, on contract at that time, but Cooper traded roles so that McCrea could star in Foreign Correspondent (1940). DeMille narrated portions of the story, a practice he followed in all of his Technicolor films.[N 2]
In homage to the historical region portrayed in North West Mounted Police, the world premiere for the film took place on October 21, 1940, in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. The film became Paramount's biggest box-office hit of 1940 and garnered some favourable contemporary reviews from critics, as well. Variety noted: "... scripters weave a story which has its exciting moments, a reasonable and convincing romance ..." Later reviews were much less complimentary. Leonard Maltin called it "DeMille at his most ridiculous ... [a] superficial tale of Texas Ranger searching for fugitive in Canada. Much of outdoor action filmed on obviously indoor sets." Years later, North West Mounted Police, was also included as one of the choices in the book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (1978).
North West Mounted Police was nominated for five Academy Awards:
- Art Direction (Color) (Hans Dreier, Roland Anderson)
- Cinematography (Color) (Victor Milner, W. Howard Greene)
- Film Editing (Anne Bauchens) - Won
- Music (Original Score) (Victor Young)
- Sound Recording (Loren L. Ryder)
The film won in the category for Best Film Editing at the 1941 Academy Awards.
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- North West Mounted Police at the TCM Movie Database
- Northwest Mounted Police at the Internet Movie Database
- North West Mounted Police on Lux Radio Theater: April 13, 1942