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John Wayne and Stewart Granger strike it rich in this sprawling, brawling comedy-adventure set in the rowdy heydey of the Alaskan gold rush. When prospectors Sam McCord (Wayne) and George Pratt (Granger) finally hit the mother lode, George asks Sam to go to Seattle and fetch his sweetheart, Jennie, but she's already married someone else. Heartbroken for his buddy's sake, Sam visits a saloon, meets dancer (Capucine) and invites her back to Nome as Jennie's replacement - the plan goes perfectly until Sam falls in love with her too!
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Even people habitually hostile to John Wayne movies tend to cast an indulgent eye on this rumbustious comedy-Western--partly because the Alaska gold rush setting seems more exotic than, say, Texas or Arizona, and because there are no Indians to discriminate against and no macho gunplay to fret about. As for John Wayne as all-purpose icon of male chauvinism, Big Sam McCord (the Duke) spends much of North to Alaska in a state of growing discombobulation because he has fallen in love with, and is thoroughly flummoxed by, "Angel" (Capucine), the woman he's brought back from Seattle to marry his heartsick partner George (Stewart Granger). Henry Hathaway directs in a broader vein than usual, but he hits pay dirt. Even Fabian, the latest pop music idol to be dragooned into supporting the elder roughnecks, is fun, and Ernie Kovacs is droll casting as chief "villain." --Richard T. Jameson
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