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Victimized by a rather insensitive reception at the time of its release (1959), Nicholas Ray's epic film about Eskimo life and its remoteness from “civilized” values represents his first—and, in many ways, most ambitious—attempt to break free from the Hollywood studios and forge an independent route. Scripted by Ray himself, and shot on location and in studios in several different countries, the film contains one of the few bearable performances of Anthony Quinn; the Japanese actress Yoko Tani plays his wife, and a dubbed Peter O'Toole plays a government official. Couched in the form of a parable, this is one of Ray's most powerful films about honor and alien folkways, and the icy landscapes are hauntingly beautiful. 109 min.

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