Based on the Kenneth Roberts novel of the same name, this film tells the story of two friends who join Rogers' Rangers, as the legendary elite force engages the enemy during the French and Indian War. The film focuses on their famous raid at Fort St. Francis and their marches before and after the battle.
Rogers And His Jolly Green Rangers. Northwest Passage is directed by King Vidor and adapted to screenplay by Laurence Stallings and Talbot Jennings from the Kenneth Roberts novel of the same name. It stars Spencer Tracy, Robert Young and Walter Brennan. Music is by Herbert Stothart and cinematography by William V. Skall and Sidney Wagner. "This is a story of our early America….of the century of conflict with French and Indians….when necessity made simple men, unknown to history, into giants in daring and endurance. It begins in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1759…." Hurrah! What with the film having a reputation as one of the greatest adventure films of all time, that opening salvo for Vidor's movie doubly whets the appetite.What follows is more a case of a visually great picture, dotted with action, that is more about actual heroes than heroic deeds. Certainly the first hour of the picture leans more towards the slow burn than anything raising the pulse. However, characters are well drawn by Vidor and his team, with quality performances to match from the leads, and when the action dose come, such as the excellent battle at the Abenaki village, they more than pay back the patience of the viewer. We need to be forgiving for the overtly racist fervour that permeates the plot, so instead just rejoice in men triumphing over many obstacles, both of the mind and the body. 7/10