The Pathfinder (1953)

78 mins | Drama | April 1953

Director:

Sidney Salkow

Writer:

Robert E. Kent

Producer:

Sam Katzman

Cinematographer:

Henry Freulich

Editor:

Jerome Thoms

Production Designer:

Paul Palmentola

Production Company:

Esskay Pictures Co.
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HISTORY

Although the onscreen credits state that The Pathfinder was "based on the novel by James Fenimore Cooper," as noted in several modern sources, the film also drew upon themes from other novels in the author's Leatherstocking Tales . According to the film's pressbook, some scenes in the film were shot near Van Nuys and Camarillo and in the Malibu Mountains in the greater Los Angeles area. According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the PCA issued its certificate for this film only on the understanding that a scene containing an open-mouthed kiss would be deleted. The film was banned in Egypt because it showed British troops victorious over the ... More Less

Although the onscreen credits state that The Pathfinder was "based on the novel by James Fenimore Cooper," as noted in several modern sources, the film also drew upon themes from other novels in the author's Leatherstocking Tales . According to the film's pressbook, some scenes in the film were shot near Van Nuys and Camarillo and in the Malibu Mountains in the greater Los Angeles area. According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the PCA issued its certificate for this film only on the understanding that a scene containing an open-mouthed kiss would be deleted. The film was banned in Egypt because it showed British troops victorious over the French. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
20 Dec 1952.
---
Daily Variety
10 Dec 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
18 Dec 52
p. 6.
Harrison's Reports
20 Dec 52
p. 202.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Apr 1952
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Dec 52
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
11 Dec 1952.
---
Motion Picture Daily
22 Dec 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Dec 52
p. 1646.
The Exhibitor
31 Dec 52
p. 3437.
Variety
17 Dec 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
Dir of pub
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Pathfinder
or, The Inland Sea by James Fenimore Cooper (Philadelphia, 1840).
DETAILS
Release Date:
April 1953
Production Date:
1 April--11 April 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
5 December 1952
Copyright Number:
LP2127
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
78
Length(in feet):
7,011
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15963
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1754, the British and the French vie for control of the territory surrounding the Great Lakes. Forced to take sides, the peaceful Mohican tribe forms an alliance with the English, while the warlike Mingo people join with the French. On the day on which war is declared, the Mingos attack and destroy a Mohican village, leaving alive only a small boy and a brave named Chingachgook. Chingachgook's friend, the Pathfinder, a white man reared by the Indians, is loath to assist either the British or the French because both countries are guilty of taking land from the Indians. When he realizes, however, that the Mingos and the French, enemies of the Mohicans, vastly outnumber the British, he agrees to become a spy for British Col. Duncannon. The colonel tells Pathfinder to pose as a scout for the French and assigns Welcome Alison, an attractive young Englishwoman, to serve as his interpreter. The two take an immediate dislike to each other and bicker all the way to the French fort at San Vincent, a key post through which all of the supplies to the surrounding French forts are carried. At San Vincent, Col. Brasseau, who for some time has tried to persuade the renowned Pathfinder to serve as a scout for the French, welcomes Pathfinder amiably, even though Arrowhead, the Mingo chief, still considers him a Mohican enemy. Welcome is introduced as Paulette, the sole survivor of a Delaware Indian attack. Later that day, Pathfinder challenges Arrowhead to a fight in order to win the respect of the Mingo tribe. He fights bravely and wins, but Arrowhead still distrusts him. ... +


In 1754, the British and the French vie for control of the territory surrounding the Great Lakes. Forced to take sides, the peaceful Mohican tribe forms an alliance with the English, while the warlike Mingo people join with the French. On the day on which war is declared, the Mingos attack and destroy a Mohican village, leaving alive only a small boy and a brave named Chingachgook. Chingachgook's friend, the Pathfinder, a white man reared by the Indians, is loath to assist either the British or the French because both countries are guilty of taking land from the Indians. When he realizes, however, that the Mingos and the French, enemies of the Mohicans, vastly outnumber the British, he agrees to become a spy for British Col. Duncannon. The colonel tells Pathfinder to pose as a scout for the French and assigns Welcome Alison, an attractive young Englishwoman, to serve as his interpreter. The two take an immediate dislike to each other and bicker all the way to the French fort at San Vincent, a key post through which all of the supplies to the surrounding French forts are carried. At San Vincent, Col. Brasseau, who for some time has tried to persuade the renowned Pathfinder to serve as a scout for the French, welcomes Pathfinder amiably, even though Arrowhead, the Mingo chief, still considers him a Mohican enemy. Welcome is introduced as Paulette, the sole survivor of a Delaware Indian attack. Later that day, Pathfinder challenges Arrowhead to a fight in order to win the respect of the Mingo tribe. He fights bravely and wins, but Arrowhead still distrusts him. During a soirée held in her honor, Welcome charms a French officer and learns enough about the route of the expected supply train to enable Pathfinder to intercept it. When she reports this information to Pathfinder late that night, both finally admit their feelings for each other and embrace. The next day, Pathfinder makes the French believe that the Delawares are about to attack San Vincent, and in the resulting confusion, he steals two kegs of gunpowder. He and Chingachgook then blow up the road to San Vincent, making it impossible for the supply train to deliver its goods to the fort. Later, Capt. Clint Bradford, a renegade British officer who earlier had abandoned Welcome for Lokawa, the daughter of a Tuscarora chief, arrives at San Vincent to negotiate an alliance between the Tuscarora and the French. Bradford visits Welcome during the night and offers to accompany her back to London with the gold the French will give him for negotiating the alliance. When Welcome repulses his advances, he angrily threatens to reveal her identity. Welcome later tells Lokawa about Bradford's plans, but Bradford appears and slaps his wife, calling her a "red pig." Pathfinder and Chingachgook set off explosions at the Mingo camp, and while Brasseau is away from his quarters, they sneak in and steal the French territorial defense plans. Bradford sees them, however, and although Chingachgook escapes with the plans, Pathfinder and Welcome are arrested as spies. The two are about to be executed when the British launch a surprise attack on the fort. As the troops engage in battle, Bradford tries to take control of a ship loaded with women and children. Pathfinder shoots Bradford and rescues Welcome, however, and after Brasseau surrenders to the British, the two lovers share a passionate kiss. +

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.