Emperor of the North Pole [DVD] [1973]

Despite its catalog title status, Emperor of the North has received a nice treatment on this DVD from Fox. It offers a letterboxed, anamorphic transfer that has been handsomely remastered; the film's earthy color scheme comes through in vivid style and the level of details is often stunning. The audio portion of the disc offers the film's original mono mix and a stereo remix; the stereo remix isn't too different from the mono track, but both are solid, well-rendered soundtracks. In terms of extras, the disc offers a trio of coming attractions for the film (one theatrical trailer, two television spots) and a commentary by New York-based film studies professor Dana Polan. The commentary offers a steady stream of analytical observations regarding the film's mythical take on its subject and the many themes running beneath its adventure story plotline. Even if one doesn't agree with all of Polan's ideas, he offers plenty of interesting food for thought (particularly his take on the film's Cigaret character as a sort of commentary on youth culture). All in all, this disc represents Emperor of the North well and is an excellent deal for its reasonable price.
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Special Features

  • Feature commentary by noted film historian Dana Polan
  • TV spots & theatrical trailer
  • Closed Captioned


Emperor of the North
In this gritty and violent period drama set in the depths of the Great Depression, Lee Marvin stars as "A No. 1", the acknowledged King of the Hoboes. A No. 1 is famous among his fellow tramps for his ability to catch a ride on any train, no matter how risky the hop or dangerous the guards. He acts as a sort of mentor for Cigaret (Keith Carradine), a young hobo who brags that some day he'll surpass A No. 1 in his accomplishments. But neither has had the courage to ride a train guarded by Shack (Ernest Borgnine), an unusually sadistic railroad cop who will brutally beat or even murder any man who tries to catch a ride on his train. A No. 1 is determined that no one, not even Cigaret, is going to deny him his title, so taking his life in his hands, he and Cigaret hop a ride on Shack's train, and they are soon bearing the full brunt of his violent nature. Emperor of the North features superb location photography by Joseph F. Biroc and a fine supporting cast, including Charles Tyner, Simon Oakland, Elisha Cook Jr., and Sid Haig. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Lee Marvin
    Lee Marvin - A No. 1
  • Ernest Borgnine
    Ernest Borgnine - Shack
  • Keith Carradine
    Keith Carradine - Cigaret
  • Charles Tyner
    Charles Tyner - Cracker
  • Malcolm Atterbury
    Malcolm Atterbury - Hogger

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