A No 1 on The 19 Mar 10, 2010
TITLE: Emperor Of The North (Pole)
CAST: Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Kieth Carradine and No.19 the Locomotive with its Train of cars
PLOT: In the time of the Hobo, Railroads hired thugs to keep the freeloaders off their vehicles and away from the cargo. The Depression was on and penniless men needed get to the possibility of a job and the only way was to steal a ride. The situation quickly developed legends on both sides of the conflict. This story is about the clash of the two most legendary of each side: 'Shack', the RR man who is shown to be a killer to protect his charge and 'A no.1' a hobo who is so down he finds selfworth in his hobo-ing abilities. He has no job to get to, he just wants to get a ride on 'the Shack' to Portland Oregon, something no man has done before. And, as in all 'No Man Has Done Before' attempts,. there lies a story
RETURN ON INVESTMENT:8 of 10;Giving the train a lead role was a brilliant idea. That coal had to be shoveled into a steam locomotive, I think we all knew. But this film shows us the plank walks on the roofs, the couplings (hitches), the ladders and even the undercarriages. The travelogue through Oregon is wonderful. Carradine's portrayal as Cigaret, a 'wanna-be' emperor, rivals any of the character work his father did (An emperor of the north pole was a euphemism for excelling at train riding as there is no emperor of the north pole so everyone could try to become it by being the best at 'Hitch' hiking) The costumes are authentic. The supporting cast employs several recognizable character actors.
DVD BONUS: A boring critic's (like mine, He He)take how the director made his points in the film
ADDED NOTES: No stunt men, that's really Borgnine steadily walking the tops of the cars and him and Marvin in the entire fight scene on a moving lumber trailer. I love this movie.