The White Dawn

  • Film
  • Action and adventure
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A surprisingly hypnotic B feature based on a true story that took place in the Canadian Arctic around 1900. Three sailors (Oates, Bottoms and Gossett), marooned on the ice cap, are taken in by a tribe of nomadic Eskimos. At a lyrically measured pace, the film unfolds how the three cultural aliens, ironically mistaken as 'dog children' by their protectors, variously adapt to and influence their new way of life. Bottoms, with misty-eyed reverence, drinks it up like a fish (the occasional moments of cloying sentiment are carefully structured around his character), while Gossett enjoys himself from the sidelines. A splendidly cantankerous Oates grudgingly accepts the help, and as his sole contribution to cultural exchange, initiates the Eskimos into alcohol. Most successful, however, is the presentation of the natural rhythms of the Eskimo life cycle, from religious rituals to hunting practices and recreation pursuits. The Baffin Island location, resonantly photographed, is in constant evidence, underlining its key position in the overall pattern. Even Henry 'Moon River' Mancini has come up trumps with a delicately pitched score. A treat.

Release details

Duration: 110 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Philip Kaufman
Screenwriter: James Houston, Tom Rickman
Cast: Warren Oates
Timothy Bottoms
Joanasie Salomonie
Lou Gossett
Simonie Kopapik
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