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HISTORY

The first of Fred R. Feitshans, Jr.'s two onscreen credits reads: "Production supervisor and film editor." Writer Robert Libott's name was misspelled "Libbot" onscreen. The foreword to the film describes "that mighty wilderness known as the Alaskan tundra...abounding with life and sudden death," and dedicates the picture to "that dauntless brotherhood of mercy flyers [who] fly to remote settlements, annihilating time and space, carrying food, supplies, and precious medical aid to combat pestilence." The foreword also describes the film as a "photographic record of a dramatic chapter in the life of one of those heroic riders of the sky, a young physician known as the 'Flying Doctor' [Dr. Thomas Barlow]." Opening credits for the film note that "certain scenes and sequences of this photoplay are taken or adapted from the motion picture Tundra, a photographic record filmed within the Arctic Circle." Except for scenes involving "Barlow's" family, the plot of Arctic Fury follows that of Tundra, a 1936 Burroughs-Tarzan Picture, very closely. According to a 17 Jul 1949 NYT article, however, almost half of Arctic Fury was "fresh material," shot in Hollywood. In 1938, according to the article, producer Boris Petroff acquired 120,000 feet of Tundra footage from director Norman Dawn, re-edited it and briefly roadshowed it, but withdrew prints after a poor reception. Realizing that he had scenery but no story, he later shot narration and new scenes, some using the original actors, over a two-year period. Before RKO took over as national distributor, the picture was released by the Fox West Coast circuit. Wally Howe (Trappers), Earl ...

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The first of Fred R. Feitshans, Jr.'s two onscreen credits reads: "Production supervisor and film editor." Writer Robert Libott's name was misspelled "Libbot" onscreen. The foreword to the film describes "that mighty wilderness known as the Alaskan tundra...abounding with life and sudden death," and dedicates the picture to "that dauntless brotherhood of mercy flyers [who] fly to remote settlements, annihilating time and space, carrying food, supplies, and precious medical aid to combat pestilence." The foreword also describes the film as a "photographic record of a dramatic chapter in the life of one of those heroic riders of the sky, a young physician known as the 'Flying Doctor' [Dr. Thomas Barlow]." Opening credits for the film note that "certain scenes and sequences of this photoplay are taken or adapted from the motion picture Tundra, a photographic record filmed within the Arctic Circle." Except for scenes involving "Barlow's" family, the plot of Arctic Fury follows that of Tundra, a 1936 Burroughs-Tarzan Picture, very closely. According to a 17 Jul 1949 NYT article, however, almost half of Arctic Fury was "fresh material," shot in Hollywood. In 1938, according to the article, producer Boris Petroff acquired 120,000 feet of Tundra footage from director Norman Dawn, re-edited it and briefly roadshowed it, but withdrew prints after a poor reception. Realizing that he had scenery but no story, he later shot narration and new scenes, some using the original actors, over a two-year period. Before RKO took over as national distributor, the picture was released by the Fox West Coast circuit. Wally Howe (Trappers), Earl Dwire (Storekeeper), Jack Santos (Halfbreed), Fraser Acosta (Eskimo father), Mrs. Elsie Duran and Bertha Maldanado (Eskimos) are listed in the cast of Tundra, but are not listed for Arctic Fury. It is possible, however, that all or some of these actors were included to some extent in the later film. In addition, while crew credits for Arctic Fury include most of the crew credits from Tundra, music director Abe Meyer and film editors Walter Thompson and Thomas Neff are not listed for the later picture. It is possible that some of these men's work was also utilized for Arctic Fury. Although copyright records indicate that, before RKO became the distributor for Arctic Fury, prints of the film contained a 1948 copyright statement, the viewed print contained a 1949 statement.
       The following production information was taken from the entry for Tundra in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 (F3.4787): According to HR, Tundra was started by Carl Laemmle, but was dropped by Universal when the studio passed to new owners. It was shot on location in Alaska for seven months, after which, according to a HR news item, Norman Dawn made a deal with Universal for the rights to the footage and took it to Burroughs-Tarzan for editing, who distributed it in Jul 1936 as a "roadshow special." A modern source states that Tundra contains large portions of stock shots from Universal's 1933 film S.O.S. Iceberg (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4457) and other pictures.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Jun 1949
---
Daily Variety
6 May 1949
p. 3
Film Daily
10 May 1949
p. 7
Hollywood Reporter
6 May 1949
p. 3
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Oct 1949
p. 34
The Exhibitor
25 May 1949
---
The Exhibitor
8 Jun 1949
---
Variety
11 May 1949
p. 18
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Glen Cook
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Boris Petroff
Prod
WRITERS
Story
Charles F. Royal
Adpt
Dial
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Photog
Edward Kull
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SOUND
Rec eng
Sd eff
PRODUCTION MISC
DETAILS
Release Date:
1 October 1949
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 4 May 1949
Production Date:

Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Plymouth Productions, Inc.
10 May 1949
LP2353
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
61-63
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13809
SYNOPSIS

Dr. Thomas Barlow, a young physician living in Alaska, is called upon to come to the aid of a wandering tribe of Eskimos, who are spreading a plague of unknown origin in the far reaches of the Arctic Circle. Thomas learns that the Eskimos, having fled their encampment, traveled to Noonack, the nearest settlement, where, within two months, they infected the entire area. Tragedy strikes soon after Thomas sets out for the plague-ridden area, when his small airplane loses an engine. The plane crashes in a wilderness area hundreds of miles from human habitation. Although he manages to eject safely from his airplane before it crashes into an iceberg, Thomas suddenly finds himself stranded in one of nature's most brutal environments. Almost immediately, Thomas is threatened by a polar bear attack and crashing icebergs. Surviving only on the fish he captures from the icy Arctic waters, Thomas, accompanied by two young polar bear cubs he has adopted, begins a desperate search for civilization. Two weeks pass, and Thomas, still wandering through the wilderness, barely survives an attack by musk oxen, which he calls the "most dangerous animal of the North." Meanwhile, Trapper Mack, a friend of Thomas', sadly tells Thomas' wife Martha that her husband never arrived in Noonack, and that pieces of his plane were found by an Eskimo in the Coleville River region. A search party is formed, but hope of finding the doctor lessens with every passing day. Thomas continues to travel in the direction he hopes will lead him to safety, but only finds himself in greater danger. A short time after a search plane flying above Thomas fails ...

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Dr. Thomas Barlow, a young physician living in Alaska, is called upon to come to the aid of a wandering tribe of Eskimos, who are spreading a plague of unknown origin in the far reaches of the Arctic Circle. Thomas learns that the Eskimos, having fled their encampment, traveled to Noonack, the nearest settlement, where, within two months, they infected the entire area. Tragedy strikes soon after Thomas sets out for the plague-ridden area, when his small airplane loses an engine. The plane crashes in a wilderness area hundreds of miles from human habitation. Although he manages to eject safely from his airplane before it crashes into an iceberg, Thomas suddenly finds himself stranded in one of nature's most brutal environments. Almost immediately, Thomas is threatened by a polar bear attack and crashing icebergs. Surviving only on the fish he captures from the icy Arctic waters, Thomas, accompanied by two young polar bear cubs he has adopted, begins a desperate search for civilization. Two weeks pass, and Thomas, still wandering through the wilderness, barely survives an attack by musk oxen, which he calls the "most dangerous animal of the North." Meanwhile, Trapper Mack, a friend of Thomas', sadly tells Thomas' wife Martha that her husband never arrived in Noonack, and that pieces of his plane were found by an Eskimo in the Coleville River region. A search party is formed, but hope of finding the doctor lessens with every passing day. Thomas continues to travel in the direction he hopes will lead him to safety, but only finds himself in greater danger. A short time after a search plane flying above Thomas fails to spot him, Martha is told that the search is being called off. Refusing to believe that her husband is dead, Martha insists that the search continue, and her hopes are bolstered when some of Thomas' gear is found miles from the plane wreck. Three months pass, and the famished doctor, nearing Noonack, is attacked by a pack of wild dogs. Things look bad for Thomas until Trapper Mack, who has just arrived in the Noonack area, finds Thomas and scares away the dogs with rifle fire. Thomas makes a full recovery and settles with his family in Cape Fear, where his ordeal becomes a local legend.

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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.