Red Snow (1952)

74-75 mins | Drama | July 1952

Producer:

Brooke L. Peters

Cinematographer:

Paul Ivano

Production Designer:

Charles D. Hall

Production Company:

All American Film Corp.
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HISTORY

The working title for this film was S.O.S. Alaska . Opening credits include a written dedication to the Alaskan Air Rescue Service and to the American Eskimo, "whose skill and courage have long been unheralded." A large portion of Red Snow consists of footage shot in Alaska twenty years earlier for the 1932 documentary Igloo (see above). Igloo was directed by Ewing Scott, who receives a credit as Alaskan unit director on this film. The documentary footage is linked to the contemporary scenes through the character played by Ray Mala, who had a starring role in Igloo , appearing under his tribal name of "Chee-ak." Mala, under the name Ray Wise, is also credited with camerawork on Igloo .
       In addition, voice-over narration by William Shaw in the role of "Sgt. Koovuk" serves to connect scenes depicting Eskimo tribal life to the film's Cold War storyline. An unidentified news item dated 28 Jan 1951 reported that producer Boris Petroff was also planning to include footage from his 1949 film Arctic Fury (see above) in Red Snow . Arctic Fury made liberal use of scenes from Tundra , a 1936 Burroughs-Tarzan film. It has not been determined, however, if this additional footage was actually incorporated into Red Snow .
       News items in HR dated 3 Nov 1950 and 9 Sep 1951 billed Red Snow as "the first film based on the possibility of a Russian attack upon the United States." Correspondence dated 26 Jan 1951 and contained in the file on this film in the MPAA/PCA Collection ... More Less

The working title for this film was S.O.S. Alaska . Opening credits include a written dedication to the Alaskan Air Rescue Service and to the American Eskimo, "whose skill and courage have long been unheralded." A large portion of Red Snow consists of footage shot in Alaska twenty years earlier for the 1932 documentary Igloo (see above). Igloo was directed by Ewing Scott, who receives a credit as Alaskan unit director on this film. The documentary footage is linked to the contemporary scenes through the character played by Ray Mala, who had a starring role in Igloo , appearing under his tribal name of "Chee-ak." Mala, under the name Ray Wise, is also credited with camerawork on Igloo .
       In addition, voice-over narration by William Shaw in the role of "Sgt. Koovuk" serves to connect scenes depicting Eskimo tribal life to the film's Cold War storyline. An unidentified news item dated 28 Jan 1951 reported that producer Boris Petroff was also planning to include footage from his 1949 film Arctic Fury (see above) in Red Snow . Arctic Fury made liberal use of scenes from Tundra , a 1936 Burroughs-Tarzan film. It has not been determined, however, if this additional footage was actually incorporated into Red Snow .
       News items in HR dated 3 Nov 1950 and 9 Sep 1951 billed Red Snow as "the first film based on the possibility of a Russian attack upon the United States." Correspondence dated 26 Jan 1951 and contained in the file on this film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that Production Code officials were concerned about a story "involv[ing] the Russian military without naming them" and advised Petroff to seek clearance with the U.S. State Department. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
21 Jun 1952.
---
Daily Variety
20 Jun 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
7 Apr 52
p. 4.
Harrison's Reports
21 Jun 52
p. 98.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 1950.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Sep 1951.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jun 52
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
23 Jun 1952.
---
Motion Picture Daily
20 Jun 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald
21 Jun 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
21 Jun 52
p. 1418.
The Exhibitor
2 Jul 52
p. 3321.
Variety
25 Jun 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
WRITERS
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Assoc ed
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus score
Mus score
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Tech dir
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
S.O.S. Alaska
Release Date:
July 1952
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 21 June 1952
Production Date:
early November 1950--late January 1951 at the Hal Roach Studios
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
25 February 1952
Copyright Number:
LP1506
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
74-75
Length(in feet):
6,711
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15235
SYNOPSIS

In the icy wilderness of northern Alaska, soldiers stationed at a U.S. Air Force base and local Eskimos see mysterious lights flashing in the sky over Siberia, only a few miles away. Soon after, Major Bennett arrives from Washington to investigate the government's suspicion that the Russians are testing a new bomb. Three Eskimo soldiers, including Sgt. Koovuk, are assigned to return to their villages on the Bering Strait in order to report back any unusual activities, while Lt. Johnson, a pilot, is ordered to tail an unmarked black plane sighted near the border. That night, strange lights shoot into the sky from the Alaskan side of the border and the troops begin to panic. However, Bennett calms them with the news that the U.S. government is testing its own nuclear weapons in the area. After a long journey by dogsled, Koovuk reaches his village on Little Diomedes Island and is warmly greeted by Chief Nanu, who introduces him to a new villager named Tuglu. Tuglu, a Siberian Eskimo from Big Diomedes Island, claims to have escaped the Russians, but when he begins to ask Koovuk questions about his work in the Air Force, Koovuk suspects he is spying for the Soviet Union. Koovuk then goes off to find his sweetheart Alak and asks her to be his wife. Later, Koovuk learns that the tribe is on the verge of starvation. Hunting parties have ventured over the border into Siberia in their desperate search for game, but only Tuglu has returned. After praying to the God of the Hunt, Koovuk forms a hunting party and crosses into Siberia. The ... +


In the icy wilderness of northern Alaska, soldiers stationed at a U.S. Air Force base and local Eskimos see mysterious lights flashing in the sky over Siberia, only a few miles away. Soon after, Major Bennett arrives from Washington to investigate the government's suspicion that the Russians are testing a new bomb. Three Eskimo soldiers, including Sgt. Koovuk, are assigned to return to their villages on the Bering Strait in order to report back any unusual activities, while Lt. Johnson, a pilot, is ordered to tail an unmarked black plane sighted near the border. That night, strange lights shoot into the sky from the Alaskan side of the border and the troops begin to panic. However, Bennett calms them with the news that the U.S. government is testing its own nuclear weapons in the area. After a long journey by dogsled, Koovuk reaches his village on Little Diomedes Island and is warmly greeted by Chief Nanu, who introduces him to a new villager named Tuglu. Tuglu, a Siberian Eskimo from Big Diomedes Island, claims to have escaped the Russians, but when he begins to ask Koovuk questions about his work in the Air Force, Koovuk suspects he is spying for the Soviet Union. Koovuk then goes off to find his sweetheart Alak and asks her to be his wife. Later, Koovuk learns that the tribe is on the verge of starvation. Hunting parties have ventured over the border into Siberia in their desperate search for game, but only Tuglu has returned. After praying to the God of the Hunt, Koovuk forms a hunting party and crosses into Siberia. The Russian pilots flying the mysterious black plane are signaled by Tuglu, who lets them know that Koovuk's hunting party has entered Siberia. The Russians then send a coded message to their base command and Russian soldiers prepare to capture Koovuk and his men. Johnson, however, picks up the message on his radio, and the Air Force is able to crack the code in time to warn Koovuk. Safely back in U.S. waters, the hunting party encounters a large school of walrus and brings home enough meat to ensure the tribe's survival. After much feasting and dancing, Alak presents Koovuk with ceremonial wedding pants symbolizing his authority in their union, and the two are pronounced man and wife. That night, an American Eskimo who has escaped captivity in Siberia is brought into the village, and, when everyone is asleep, Tuglu tries to kill him. Tuglu is taken prisoner, but Koovuk decides that the tribe is no longer safe in the area, so preparations are made to travel south to the mainland. In the meantime, the Russians have readied their bomb for its final test, and pilots Alex and Elia are assigned to deploy it in the border zone through which Koovuk's tribe is traveling. Once in the air, Alex reveals to Elia that he has learned that their flight is a suicide mission and therefore he has sabotaged the test so that he can defect to the U.S. with the new weapon technology. However, Elia, a fanatical supporter of the Communist regime, grabs the controls of the plane, causing it to crash. Both men die in the crash, but Koovuk retrieves the intact bomb. As Koovuk's tribe continues its journey, the treacherous ice floes begin to break apart, creating deadly avalanches. Johnson locates the tribe and the Air Force succeeds in rescuing them by helicopter. Back at the base, Koovuk turns the Russian weapon over to the Air Force General and is given a promotion, while Johnson is cited for his bravery in rescuing Koovuk's tribe. +

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.