The Great Barrier (film)

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The Great Barrier
Directed by
Written by
Produced byGünther Stapenhorst
Edited by
Music by
Distributed byGaumont British Distributors
Release date
February 1937
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Great Barrier is a 1937 British historical drama film directed by Milton Rosmer and Geoffrey Barkas and starring Richard Arlen, Lilli Palmer and Antoinette Cellier. The film depicts the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.[2] It was based on the 1935 novel The Great Divide by Alan Sullivan. It was made at the Lime Grove Studios in Shepherd's Bush.[3] The film's sets were designed by Walter Murton.



It was one of a series of British Empire-related movies made by Gaumont around this time, others including Rhodes of Africa, The Flying Doctor and Soldiers Three.[4][5]

The film involved 16 weeks location shooting in Canada.[6]

Barbara Greene was borrowed from Fox. Location filming finished in June 1936.[7]


Writing for The Spectator in 1937, Graham Greene gives the film a generally good review, describing it as "a thoroughly worthy picture", "well acted, well produced [and] a little less than well written". Greene praised the saloon shindy and horseback race scenes, and commended Palmer's acting, however his primary criticism was that "it shrinks into significance, with its conventional love-story and the impression it leaves that the building of a railway depends on the heroic efforts of one or three men and a girl".[8]


  1. ^ "PLAYERS, PLAYS AND PICTURES". The Herald. Victoria, Australia. 24 April 1937. p. 30. Retrieved 13 May 2020 – via Trove.
  2. ^ BFI Database
  3. ^ Cook p.192
  4. ^ "WORLD MARKET". The Sun. New South Wales, Australia. 5 June 1936. p. 17 (COUNTRY EDITION). Retrieved 13 May 2020 – via Trove.
  5. ^ "BRITISH FILM "KING" LOOKS AHEAD". The Herald. Victoria, Australia. 26 June 1936. p. 6. Retrieved 13 May 2020 – via Trove.
  6. ^ "Remaking the Canadian Pacific Railway on the Screen". The Queenslander. Queensland, Australia. 4 March 1937. p. 12. Retrieved 13 May 2020 – via Trove.
  7. ^ "Miss BARBARA GREENE". The Telegraph. Queensland, Australia. 20 June 1936. p. 11 (LAST CITY CABLE NEWS). Retrieved 13 May 2020 – via Trove.
  8. ^ Greene, Graham (12 February 1937). "The Plainsman/The Great Barrier". The Spectator. (reprinted in: Taylor, John Russell, ed. (1980). The Pleasure Dome. Oxford University Press. p. 132. ISBN 0192812866.)


  • Cook, Pam. Gainsborough Pictures. Cassell, 1997.

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