The White Dawn, 1974 - ★★★★½

The White Dawn, 1974 - ★★★★½


"This is my igloo and those are my women. So what the hell are you doing with my women."

- Billy (Warren Oates)

Three whalers become stranded on a remote Arctic Canadian island. On deaths door the three men are saved by an Eskimo tribe, who also grant them shelter. Eventually the men start to introduce their own brand of culture on the indigenous peoples simple lifestyle, to drastic consequences.

I whistle death away phhooeww-phoooewWW. Beautifully pedestrian, provocative and painfully under appreciated, well at least on its release, but the boom in world cinema and genuine appreciation for learning about other cultures will surely sway public opinion on this classic over time. Its a sharp tale of diversely different cultures clashing, and proof the Wests commercialism isn't for everyone.

Maverick director Philip Kaufman's a true auteur, one of those schooled in that dying breed of real mens film-making (I love him and I love the 70's). He's also a guy whose never been afraid of taking chances or making subversive statements with his work, be it as a writer or director. The wonderfully off kilter 'The White Dawn' based on a great story by James Houston, featuring fantastic performances from the official coolest actor of his generation Warren Oats, alongside Timothy Bottoms and Louis Gossett Jr. Cinematographer Michael Chapman perfectly captures its harsh wilderness. Henry Mancini goes totally nuts with pan pipes, but still manages to craft a fine score. I'd seen it years ago possibly on TV while on a Oats viewathon (which is always a treat). It'll never turn up in polls of his best performances or best movie ever ones. But I still love this just for being such a unique feeling film.

[Personal Reasons For Remembering]

The guys embarrassment at being excited when an Eskimo girl warms their freezing bodies with her breasts. Group fun to be had from the Mancini pan pipe drinking game or tripping with the witchdoctors mysticism. WTF wild Eskimo tribal party.

Originally taken from Letterboxd

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