Emperor of the North. 1973. USA. Directed by Robert Aldrich. Screenplay by Christopher Knopf. With Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Keith Carradine. 118 min.
This stark, existential action film by the noir giant Robert Aldrich (Kiss Me Deadly) passed almost unperceived by the mainstream press in 1973, but now seems a classic in the uncompromising purity of its elemental vision. Lee Marvin is A No. 1, the King of the Hobos in the darkest days of the Depression; Keith Carradine, in his first major film role, is the new kid, looking to challenge Marvin’s reputation for being able to ride the most tightly patrolled trains in the Pacific Northwest. Both come up against Shack (Ernest Borgnine, in a towering performance), the implacable conductor on the No. 19 line. Restored by Twentieth Century Fox. DCP.