The Emperor of the North Pole

Film, Action and adventure
Set during the Depression, Aldrich's film starts out from a lovely gamesmanship premise derived from the legendary enmity between railwaymen and the hoboes who rode the rails. It's a duel to the death, developed with dark humour and nailbiting excitement, between Borgnine's sadistic guard - up to all the tricks and armed with a fearsome array of sledgehammers and steel chains - and Marvin's laconically contrary hobo, whocannot resist the challenge of making a lie of Borgnine's boast that no one has ever jumped his train and lived to tell the tale. A pity, perhaps, that the script pursues a vague political allegory instead of exploring its characters more deeply, but the vivid background detail (including a Baptist river-dunking which is the occasion for a cheeky theft of clothes) is brilliantly realised.

By: TM

Release details

Duration: 119 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Robert Aldrich
Screenwriter: Christopher Knopf
Cast: Lee Marvin
Ernest Borgnine
Keith Carradine
Charles Tyner
Simon Oakland
Matt Clark
Elisha Cook

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening