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In the thirties, all-star action melodramas didn't come much better than Spawn Of The North, an eventful yarn of the war between Russian and American salmon-fishing fleets along the Alaskan coast. It was a winner for Paramount, which made several such big-scale mass entertainments in a period when other companies were scooping up all the Oscars and critics' awards. Even some of the reviewers enthused about the rugged vigour of Henry Hathaway's direction of this Barrett Willoughby story, scripted by Jules Furthman and Talbot Jennings. Performances pleased, too: Henry Fonda as the stalwart skipper, Dorothy Lamour as the gal who stands by him, defying the world, the flesh and the devil; George Raft as Fonda's pal (who goes over to the bad guys but thinks better of it). The great John Barrymore is great fun as a grizzled, guzzling newspaperman and Akim Tamiroff is good as the Russian heavy. Charles Lang's photography (the exteriors shot mostly in Alaska) was magnificent.

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MC83498 Spawn Of The North VHS (1938/Henry Fonda) $9.99