Produced by James Oliver Curwood Productions; Released 10/11/20 by Associated First National Pictures; Director: David M. Hartford; Screenplay: David M. Hartford and James Oliver Curwood, from a novel by James Oliver Curwood; Cinematography: Walter Griffin; 6 reels; Print Source: National Film Archives (Canada), Film Preservation Associates
CAST: Betty Blythe (Nanette Roland), Lon Chaney (Raoul Challoner), Lewis Stone (Corporal O'Connor), Francis J. MacDonald (Buck McDougall), Melbourne McDowell (Duncan McDougall), Spottiswoode Aitken (Old Roland)
SYNOPSIS: Nanette Roland lives an unhappy existence in the Northwoods; her father dies leaving her no money, and her fiancee, Raoul Challoner, has gone off trapping for pelts, and has disappeared. She does not want to marry Duncan McDougall's son, Buck, until she is convinced that Raoul is dead. Buck fabricates evidence that Raoul is dead, and Nanette reluctantly agrees to marry him. She is about to be wed when Raoul returns and spirits her away from the ceremony. Raoul and Nanette are married, but Buck goads Raoul into a fight, during which one of Buck's men, Black Marat, is accidentally killed. Raoul is accused of murder and arrested, but Nanette rescues him from jail and they flee into the woods in his canoe. Corporal O'Connor, a dedicated mountie and admirer of Nanette, is ordered after the fugitives. Three years later, Raoul, his wife and baby are living deep in the woods when they are discovered by Buck and O'Connor. O'Connor arrests Raoul, who yields without a struggle, and he and his family begin the trip back when they are trapped by a great forest fire. Buck is caught drunk in a cabin and is destroyed by the fire. Raoul has an opportunity to escape when O'Connor is trapped, but he saves the mountie's life instead. O'Connor sets him free, and says that he will report Raoul as dead. O'Connor leaves the happy family, as they plan to start life anew in the wilderness.
"You may forget much of this picture, but you will remember for a long, long time the forest fire, the crashing, burning, smoldering trees and the blistering heat of it, which you almost feel...The dramatic burden is carried by Lon Chaney and Betty Blythe, and the humor of it is strengthened by the antics of a pet cub bear and a small dog who have many experiences by flood and fire. A good family picture, this one." ---Photoplay
"In this particular picture Lon Chaney was less successful than usual...What he lacked was the romantic bearing to capture the heart of a girl like Nanette." ---Variety
NOTES: During filming of the forest fire sequences, work on the production was suspended for 10 days while Betty Blythe and Lon Chaney recovered from burns from the fire. While shooting a sequence where Chaney, Blythe, Stone, and a small baby were escaping through the fire, the controlled blaze jumped across a ravine and started over a ridge that blocked the escape of the actors. Sending the actors a signal, they made for an escape tunnel that had been prepared for just such an eventuality. In the excitement, the cameraman stopped cranking the camera so no footage of the exciting escape was obtained.
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© 1998,2008 Jon C. Mirsalis
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