Canadian Pacific (1949)

95 mins | Adventure | April 1949

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HISTORY

Canadian Pacific marked Nat Holt's debut as an independent producer after many years at RKO and was the first of three films he made for release by Twentieth Century-Fox in the late 1940s. All starred Randolph Scott and featured Victor Jory. (For information on the other two, please see entries below for Fighting Man of the Plains and The Cariboo Trail .) A 3 Oct 1948 NYT article described Holt's negotiations with the Canadian Pacific Railroad's board of directors and with agencies of the Canadian government: "Months of negotiations were required to work out details of customs, immigration, currency exchange and the like connected with the location work in Canada--so much so that the Canadian Government asked that a formal record be made of every step as a model for future projects....The CPR furnished construction gangs who doubled as actors to set up a stretch of dummy track beside the main line; and an authentic old-time construction train..."
       A press release from Nat Holt Productions contains the following production information: The film was shot in Banff, Lake Louise, Kicking Horse Pass, the Yoho Valley and on the Morley Indian Reserve near Calgary. Holt employed Indians from the Yiskabee, or Stony tribe, related to the the Sioux tribe, to portray their forefathers. A Nov 1948 AmCin article reported that Canadian Pacific was the first Cinecolor film to use a post-exposure "flashing" technique which enabled interior scenes to be shot with less light. Although actress Nancy Olson had just been put under contract by Paramount, she made her motion picture debut, on loan-out, in Canadian Pacific . In the ... More Less

Canadian Pacific marked Nat Holt's debut as an independent producer after many years at RKO and was the first of three films he made for release by Twentieth Century-Fox in the late 1940s. All starred Randolph Scott and featured Victor Jory. (For information on the other two, please see entries below for Fighting Man of the Plains and The Cariboo Trail .) A 3 Oct 1948 NYT article described Holt's negotiations with the Canadian Pacific Railroad's board of directors and with agencies of the Canadian government: "Months of negotiations were required to work out details of customs, immigration, currency exchange and the like connected with the location work in Canada--so much so that the Canadian Government asked that a formal record be made of every step as a model for future projects....The CPR furnished construction gangs who doubled as actors to set up a stretch of dummy track beside the main line; and an authentic old-time construction train..."
       A press release from Nat Holt Productions contains the following production information: The film was shot in Banff, Lake Louise, Kicking Horse Pass, the Yoho Valley and on the Morley Indian Reserve near Calgary. Holt employed Indians from the Yiskabee, or Stony tribe, related to the the Sioux tribe, to portray their forefathers. A Nov 1948 AmCin article reported that Canadian Pacific was the first Cinecolor film to use a post-exposure "flashing" technique which enabled interior scenes to be shot with less light. Although actress Nancy Olson had just been put under contract by Paramount, she made her motion picture debut, on loan-out, in Canadian Pacific . In the film's onscreen cast list, the character portrayed by Robert Barrat is called "Cornelius Van Horne," but in the film he is referred to as "William Van Horne." More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Nov 48
p. 373.
Box Office
26 Feb 1949.
---
Daily Variety
9 Mar 49
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 Mar 49
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 48
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 49
pp. 3-4.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
12 Mar 49
pp. 4529-30.
New York Times
3 Oct 1948.
---
New York Times
20 May 49
p. 32.
Variety
9 Mar 49
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Prod
Assoc prod
In charge of prod
WRITERS
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Stills
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus wrt and dir
SOUND
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Scr supv
STAND INS
Double for Randolph Scott
Double
Double
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
MUSIC
"The Maple Leaf Forever" by Alexander Muir.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
April 1949
Premiere Information:
World premiere in San Francisco, CA : 10 March 1949
Production Date:
early August--mid September 1948 at General Service Studios Service Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
9 February 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2395
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Cinecolor
Duration(in mins):
95
Length(in feet):
8,569
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13386
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the late 1880's, the development of the Canadian Pacific Railroad is halted by the enormous challenge of finding a route through the Rocky Mountains. At a meeting of the Canadian Parliament, Canadian Pacific general manager William Van Horne reports that surveyor Tom Andrews is in the field attempting to map a route through the mountains. While doing his work, however, Tom is shot at by a fur trader, Dirk Rourke, and his accomplice Cagle. When Tom returns to the railroad construction camp to report to Van Horne, he spots Cagle working there and attacks him. However, Dr. Edith Cabot intervenes and makes Tom aware of her pacifist philosphy, which does not impress him. After he delivers his proposal to Van Horne, Tom heads for Calgary, where his girl friend, Cecille Gautier, is waiting for him on her family's ranch. Rourke has been attempting to court Cecille but she has rejected him. Tom and Cecille's father attend a meeting at Rourke's trading post, where Rourke campaigns against the railroad, saying that it will mean the end of trade in the area. When Tom tries to convince the trappers and farmers that the railroad will bring them many benefits and that Rourke is against it because it will end his business monopoly, he and Rourke become involved in a fistfight, which is broken up by Père Lacombe, whom Cecille has sent. Tom decides to return to the railroad to help to keep peace, prompting Cecille to break their engagement. At the camp, explosives expert Dynamite Dawson tells Tom he suspects Indians of stealing dynamite, and Tom later finds several cases of dynamite buried at an Indian village. The chief apologizes ... +


In the late 1880's, the development of the Canadian Pacific Railroad is halted by the enormous challenge of finding a route through the Rocky Mountains. At a meeting of the Canadian Parliament, Canadian Pacific general manager William Van Horne reports that surveyor Tom Andrews is in the field attempting to map a route through the mountains. While doing his work, however, Tom is shot at by a fur trader, Dirk Rourke, and his accomplice Cagle. When Tom returns to the railroad construction camp to report to Van Horne, he spots Cagle working there and attacks him. However, Dr. Edith Cabot intervenes and makes Tom aware of her pacifist philosphy, which does not impress him. After he delivers his proposal to Van Horne, Tom heads for Calgary, where his girl friend, Cecille Gautier, is waiting for him on her family's ranch. Rourke has been attempting to court Cecille but she has rejected him. Tom and Cecille's father attend a meeting at Rourke's trading post, where Rourke campaigns against the railroad, saying that it will mean the end of trade in the area. When Tom tries to convince the trappers and farmers that the railroad will bring them many benefits and that Rourke is against it because it will end his business monopoly, he and Rourke become involved in a fistfight, which is broken up by Père Lacombe, whom Cecille has sent. Tom decides to return to the railroad to help to keep peace, prompting Cecille to break their engagement. At the camp, explosives expert Dynamite Dawson tells Tom he suspects Indians of stealing dynamite, and Tom later finds several cases of dynamite buried at an Indian village. The chief apologizes to Tom, saying that some young braves have been paid by a white man to steal the explosives. As Tom unloads the cases back at the camp, Cagle and Rourke shoot at one, causing a large explosion that seriously injures Tom. While on board a train back to the base hospital, Dr. Cabot transfuses her own blood and saves Tom's life. Cecille, meanwhile, overhears Rourke, her father and others plotting to stop the railroad by having the Indians cause trouble and when she objects, her father threatens to disown her. Cecille, who suspects Rourke of having caused the explosion which injured Tom, plans to join Tom at the hospital, but Dynamite persuades her to return home to gather more evidence to pass onto him. A series of explosions, the work of saboteurs, closes down construction on the railroad for the winter. By the spring, Tom has almost fully recovered, and he and Edith are in love. Hearing that there is trouble at the work camp, Tom prepares to return, but Edith persuades him not to wear a gun. Rourke has been stirring up the Indians and has established a saloon and gambling hall at the camp. When a man is shot at the saloon, Edith goes to help but is too late. Tom straps on his guns again and closes down the saloon. Cecille then arrives with the news that Rourke and the Indians are about to attack, and Dynamite rides off to get reinforcements while Tom and the others take refuge in the hospital car. After Cecille's injured father is brought in and tells them that they are considerably outnumbered, Tom goes after Rourke and Cagle and, as the Indians prepare for a final attack, shoots Cagle. Rourke is then killed by a falling tree that had been set on fire as a signal to the Indians. Finally, Van Horne and reinforcements arrive, and the Indians are driven off. Later, however, the Indians walk into the camp and say they want peace. Dismayed by all the violence she has witnessed, Edith heads back East, leaving Tom and Cecille together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.