Never Cry Wolf (1983)
The wolves of the Arctic Circle and its environs, the stunning beauty of a Northern winter, a biologist who braves it all to record the lives of the wolves, and Inuits who save the biologist's hide and share their own wisdom openly are all winners in this film that is a tribute to the skills of writer and director Carroll Ballard (The Black Stallion). Based on Farley Mowat's autobiographical novel of the same name, Tyler (Charles Martin Smith) is a normal biologist until he gets up into the Arctic winter in order to prove that the caribou herds are not being decimated by wolves; then he becomes a semi-klutz, unable to instinctively adapt to the deep freeze around him. After he sets up his first stake-out, a native Inuit named Oolek (Zachary Ittimangnaq) comes along to help him out and gets him better established in an isolated hut, where Tyler is left to fend for himself again. That he does, but not because he can see in advance what his needs or problems are going to be -- he just comes up against the worst when it happens and works from there. At the same time, Tyler gets to carefully and closely observe a wolf family he has already dubbed as George, Angeline, and the three pups, and he has several comic interactions with his distant "pets." Oolek and his friend Mike (Samson Jorah) drop by to keep Tyler company for awhile, sharing their observations on nature and life in an easy-going, non-committal manner. With Tyler's perseverance and the knowledge gained from experience and through these conversations, the real culprit in the decimation of the caribou turns out not to have four legs at all. … More
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Critic Reviews for Never Cry Wolf
Ballard and his masterly crew of film makers have reimagined a corner of the natural world...They leave us awed.
Measures up to the promise Ballard amply provided in his first feature, The Black Stallion.
For the most part very absorbing, the film suffers from some embarrassingly obvious symbolism.
Perhaps the best thing about the film is that the wolves are never made to seem like strange but cuddly dogs. They look like wolves, not especially threatening but still remote and complete unto themselves.
The film is still memorable for its compassion, commitment, and unexpected humor, qualities that go a long way toward tempering the ecological didacticism of the screenplay.
Capturing the changes a man goes through as he learns about life in the wilds, Never Cry Wolf is very informative, but it is Smith's performance that makes the film a resounding success.
Set in the Arctic wilderness of Canada where a biologist has a mystical experience of oneness with nature.
Audience Reviews for Never Cry Wolf
Never Cry Wolf looks, sounds and feels like a DisneyNature film, for the most part. A desolate location, focus on animals, minimal dialogue...though the movie never quite knows what it wants to be. Initially, there are hints of comedy, then "man against nature" drama, then documentary and so on. By not picking one genre to play in, Never Cry Wolf borders on lacking focus. Charles Martin Smith plays well against the frigid backdrop and the occasional humans he runs into, but this is really about the place and the animals. An episode of Planet Earth is, arguably, more interesting.More
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