Random Film of the Week(end): Emperor of the North Pole

(thanks, Carl’s Trains & Stuff!)

emperor of the north poleIf you haven’t checked out that video above, don’t let the title fool you one bit – this isn’t a family friendly movie about a bouncy, happy CGI penguin and there’s definitely no red-suited Jolly Saint Nick here to spread happy holiday tidings (but there is a fat guy who throws hammers). Nope, this 1973 film from the late, great Robert Aldrich is simultaneously big, mean, brutal and hilarious, often within a few seconds in some scenes.

Based loosely on a Jack London book and a book partially about Jack London, the film features Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine as bitter rivals battling for turf rights in the most absurd of places – a moving freight train. OK, there’s much more to this classic than that, but it pretty much boils town to a prolonged (and excellently shot) fight between two men way past middle age beating the crap out of each other with 2 x 4’s, a chain, thrown hammers and an axe. I guess a cynic would call it Thunderdome on rolling stock, but not as cheesy and much better acted, at that…

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