Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Richard Arlen, Jean Parker, Ralph Sanford, William Henry, Joe Sawyer
Director: Frank McDonald
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
A Good Melodrama With True Adventure As Backdrop.
rsoonsa | Lake Isabella, California | 08/24/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The dauntingly difficult construction of the Alcan (Alaska Canada) Highway, extending northwest for nearly 1600 miles, following bulldozers from Dawson Creek, British Columbia up and over to Fairbanks. Alaska, an eight month long achievement during 1942 that utilized thousands of men before its completion, forms the background for this roisterous tale of romantic adventure. The road is well designed for the transport of troops, supplies and food to an Alaska that was soon to be attacked by Japanese forces, and the characters in the screenplay portray for the most part members of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the principal governmental agency responsible for extending the route by eight miles per day, despite extremely cold temperatures that would periodically plunge as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. "Pop" Ormsby (Harry Shannon), owner of a road building outfit, wins a contract to complete the Highway, and he and his employees enlist in the Engineer Corps, Pop as Major and commanding Officer of the unit, and his two sons Woody (Richard Arlen) and Steve (Bill Henry) as Technical Sergeants, although the latter two are rivals after the heart of Ann Coswell (Jean Parker), daughter of the civilian engineer into whose oversight the Highway project has been assigned. Evidence of Ann's preference for Woody, the elder Ormsby brother, is presently prima facie and a simmering conflict between the siblings leads to deeper problems for the entire crew, while a comedic element concerns team cook Frosty (Ralph Sanford) and his search for a mail order wife. The movie was a financial success for Paramount's Programmer Unit under the aegis of producers William Pine and William Thomas and is an excellent example of how the pair's organization created fixed formula films as ensemble pieces, the nifty dialogue here mainly from Lewis R. Foster, and there is crisp editing by William Ziegler who efficiently incorporates into the work documentary footage (including voiceover) of the actual Highway project. Ably directed by Frank McDonald, the briskly paced film benefits from a host of talented supporting players, among whom are Edward Earle, Joe Sawyer, Eddie Quillan, and Frank Richards, while always effective Parker wins acting honours for an assured performance as sought-after Ann in this satisfying work that offers action, romance, suspense, and even pathos."