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Jul 1, 2022

An odd pairing for this MGM 1940 episode: King Vidor's Northwest Passage, which is not about finding the Northwest Passage at all but about an attack on an Abenaki village by an independent ranger company attached to the British Army; and Frank Borzage's mystical prison break movie, Strange Cargo. We make the argument for a Starship Troopers reading of Northwest Passage before grappling with the many issues of Strange Cargo, from Borzage's use of Crawford and Gable's star personas, to the movie's theodicy, to the many Code-defying topics it deals with. We find a tonal similarity with the poetic realism movement in French cinema of the 1930s, and consider Borzage's treatment of love, salvation and gender. 

Time Codes:

0h 01m 00s:      NORTHWEST PASSAGE [dir. King Vidor]

0h 30m 24s:      STRANGE CARGO [dir. Frank Borzage]

1h 17m 11s:      Fear & Moviegoing in Toronto – Kinuyo Tanaka’s Love Under the Crucifix (1962)


Studio Film Capsules provided by The MGM Story by John Douglas Eames

Additional studio information from: The Hollywood Story by Joel W. Finler



* Marvel at our meticulously ridiculous Complete Viewing Schedule for the 2020s

* Intro Song: “Sunday” by Jean Goldkette Orchestra with the Keller Sisters (courtesy of The Internet Archive)

* Read Elise’s latest film piece on Preston Sturges, Unfaithfully Yours, and the Narrative role of comedic scapegoating.

* Check out Dave’s new Robert Benchley blog – an attempt to annotate and reflect upon as many of the master humorist’s 2000+ pieces as he can locate – Benchley Data: A Wayward Annotation Project! 

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