North to Alaska - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

North to Alaska Reviews

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½ May 22, 2017
John Wayne is a miner sent to Seattle to bring back mining equipment and his partner's fiance back to Nome, Alaska. It turns out the fiance is already married so he brings back a beautiful prostitute (Capucine), which leads to romantic complications. The movie wobbles about a bit thanks to sketchy acting from Fabian and Capucine, and some dodgy sexual politics but is good-natured enough to remain watchable. If you can make it through the awkward bits it builds to a warm, cornball ending.
½ April 12, 2017
This lesser-remembered John Wayne film leaves much to be desired. The humor in North To Alaska is un-satirically patriarchal and offensive to those with modern sensitivities, the acting is cringe-worthy, and the plot is not deep enough to warrant a puddle in the rain, much less a 120-minute run time. However, if viewed with the right frame of mind, as a bystander with a telescope into a bygone era, there is some fun to be had here.

Sam and his mining business partner George strike it rich in Alaska when their gold mine finally yields the rocks for which they've been digging. George is elated he can finally afford to marry his estranged love, Jenny, whom he left behind in Seattle. Unfortunately, as Sam quickly discovers, Jenny has chosen a different man in the time that has passed since George left on his treasure hunt to the "last frontier". Sam quickly meets a beautiful French woman from New Orleans named Michelle who he hopes will soften the blow for George, but in a world light on eligible bachelorettes, Michelle begins to attract the attention of all the men in town, including Sam himself.

The music is hokey, the comedy is slapstick, the men mistreat the women, and the lead solves every problem, real or imagined, with his fists. But this film was made in 1960. It is difficult for younger viewers to know what feels ridiculous because of the passing of time, and what was unforgivable even in the film's own era. The movie didn't win any awards, except for one: Fabian's "Uncrossed Heart" award for least Promising Actor of 1960 in Harvard Lampoon's Annual Movie awards. Even still, the movie was reportedly somewhat successful at the box office, and members of that generation seem to have a soft place in their hearts for this one even today.

Seasoned viewers will enjoy regaling the young whippersnappers in the room with their cinematic memories, pointing out famous John Wayne mannerisms as they flash across the screen, Stewart Granger's background as he slips between fake American and authentic English accents, and a cast featuring not one, but two celebrities sans last name: Fabian, a 1950's Justin Bieber, as "Billy", and Capucine, famous for the Pink Panther film series, as "Michelle". There is no reason members of both generations can't enjoy each other's company as they take in this western comedy, but it is hard to imagine that this movie was ever largely considered "good" by any standard. The film is long, and driven only by humorous lines that are few and far between, bookending muddy fistfights (so much mud) that seem to drag on longer than the Aleutian mountain range. Still, some of the most entertaining movies are B movies, and North To Alaska boasts a similar spirit.

Don't say no to watching North To Alaska with your grandparents if they suggest it, but if you're just looking for a way to fix a craving for an evening with the Duke himself, there are plenty of better places to start the search.

2.5/5

North To Alaska is available someplace, somewhere... probably.

P.D. Penley
June 6, 2015
For whatever reason, I've never been partial to western comedies and this John Wayne stab at western comedy is not different. Wayne plays a gold prospector dealing with a con artist played by Ernie Kovacs, Steward Granger's troublesome kid brother, Fabian, and also a gold digging French woman, Capucine. It's all quite light and quite broad for a Wayne western, but the film moves at a fast pace and doesn't dawdle long enough anywhere to get boring. Henry Hathaway directed.
March 30, 2015
A romance movie disguised as a western. John Wayne seems like he had a good time with this one.
½ January 9, 2015
Such a feel good movie! :)
½ April 27, 2014
My all time favorite John Wayne movie. Ernie Kovacs turns in a sterling performance.
½ March 7, 2014
Cute story and funny. Reminded me of watching tv with my grandparents
February 12, 2014
While it does have its moments, it's a tad on the unmemorable side.
July 7, 2013
A gold digger in Alaska goes back to Washington to bring his partner's girl back to him. However, the two end up falling in love with each other during the trip. John Wayne only occasionally lent his tough guy persona to more comedy driven vehicles, and out of these film it seems that North to Alaska is the best one of them. Charming in its overall simplicity while also occasionally genuinely funny, Hathaway's film is one that will perhaps please a wider audience than the usual western one.
May 19, 2013
John Wayne at his best wonderful comedy/romance/swashbuckle if thats the word seen it loads
October 28, 2012
One of only two movies starring John Wayne that I actually like. The other is "The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance."
Needless to say, unlike a lot of people my age, I don't think much of the man's acting ability.
But, that is what makes the world go 'round, differences of opinion. Right?
October 11, 2012
funny and entertaining.
½ August 12, 2012
terrible, boring, stupid.....
April 9, 2012
This movie is awesome, another one that I watched with my grandpa.....
February 2, 2012
60/100. Didn't work for me as much as it has for many other Wayne enthusiasts. I found the movie to be overlong, overloaded on campy humor, and predictable. When it came out in 1960, it was a fresh film that showcased Wayne in unfamiliar roles of comedian and repressed lover. But succeeding films McLintock! and to a lesser extent War Wagon not only added on but improved on the comedic elements in Wayne Westerns. In this flick, you could tell the Duke was somewhat out of place, although you could definitely see flashes of John Wayne's underrated comedic ability. Capucine does a great job as Wayne's equal despite what some reviewers have expressed while Stewart Granger maintains good chemistry with both the male and female leads. Fabian surprisingly has good acting and comedy talent and did a much better job than fellow pop star Ricky Nelson did in Wayne's film a year before "Rio Bravo". Opening and ending brawl sequences were way too watered down with camp; the various lame sound effects made the fights more suitable for the Three Stooges or a Warner Brother's cartoon.

I would have given this a rating in the high fifties if this was set in say Texas, but I was won over by the Alaskan scenery and terrific chemistry between Wayne and Capucine. Highlights of the movie were just about every scene between Capucine and Fabian.
October 15, 2011
Broad comedy and romance in the wild west. It reminds me a lot of "The Quiet Man", though it goes to the extreme on the wacky comedy spectrum and is much lighter on the romance--though I think they work in both. Great fight scenes in both, too. This is a lesser known John Wayne movie that probably shouldn't be so obscure because it's just plain fun.
½ October 12, 2011
What can I say, just a good Wayne movie.
½ July 4, 2011
Fun, fun, and more fun!
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