If what you want from a movie is an adventure yarn involving a long chase in the snow, then Back to God’s Country may be the film for you. That is a curiously specific set of requests for a movie though, and this one doesn’t even feature Liam Neeson punching a wolf. Directed by Joseph Pevney (Air Cadet), the film is set in the frozen wastes of the Canadian northwest during the late 19th century – a time when the fur trapping trade could mean a fortune to the right entrepreneur.
Rock Hudson plays schooner captain Peter Keith, about to depart with his wife Dolores (Marcia Henderson) back to God’s country – America – with his cargo of fur before the weather turns and his boat is frozen in. But local baddie Paul Blake (Steve Cochran), a truly moustache twirling bad guy of properly pantomimic proportions, wants to claim the cargo for himself. As well as Dolores. It’s truly a shame that the character doesn’t actually have a moustache. He doesn’t even have a cape he can swing over his shoulders, but behaves like a master criminal who is really enjoying himself.
With assured inevitability Back to God’s Country requires Hudson and Henderson to make their way out of town to escape Cochran’s nefarious plans. And to undertake several feats of daring do.
For all the limited excitement, we’re never in much doubt that things will work out okay in the end. The performances are fine, with Steve Cochran in particular enjoying himself immensely. The photography of the recreated frozen north is very nicely done, even if no one ever looks particularly cold. Or acts it. There are a couple of moments of obvious chucked in stock footage which have the tendency, by highlighting the artifice, to lift the audience out of the moment rather than keeping them engrossed. Unlike Hudson’s movie Bengal Brigade Back to God’s Country has a number of native characters from Northern America who appear to be played by native actors. Unfortunately they don’t really have much to do.
At 78 minutes long the movie has no lack of pace and vim, it’s just a pity that the storyline hasn’t got more going for it to fill the time.
Back to God’s Country is out on DVD now.