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06 June 2016

Five Door Films experiences the ROMANCE OF THE FAR FUR COUNTRY (Review)

A year before Robert Flaherty painted a romantic picture of Eskimo culture in NANOOK OF THE NORTH, New York filmmaker Harold Wyckoff was commissioned by Canada's Hudson's Bay Company to make a film about Canada's fur trade for the company's 250th anniversary in 1920.  Following the company's trade routes, Wyckoff charted the company's interaction with the Eskimo and First Nations peoples and the arduous and unforgiving terrain of the unknown north.  The film was never shown in its complete form in the United States and in a reedited form in the UK.  It disappeared from circulation when all of the materials were transferred to the company's Londo arm and then to the British Film Institute for safekeeping and archiving.  In 2009, the materials were returned to the Hudson's Bay archives in Winnipeg.  The subsequent restoration and reconstruction sheds light not only on Canada's history but also its cultural and colonial interactions.

REVIEW LINK: Five Door Films (Canada) Region 0 NTSC DVD (DVDBeaver)

THE ROMANCE OF THE FAR FUR COUNTRY DVD specs:
  • Disc One:
    • 16:9 pillarboxed 1.33:1 fullscreen
    • Music LPCM 2.0 stereo
    • Audio Commentary by historian Peter Geller & curatorial editor Kevin Nikkel
    • "Explore the 1919 Expedition"
      • Map of the 1919 Journey
      • Excerpt from Wyckoff's Letters & Diary
      • Wyckoff's Photo Expedition Album
    • "Trials and Tribulations of a Cameraman" short
    • "Treasures of the Far Fur Country" short
    • "Rediscovering the Far Fur Country" restoration demo
  • Disc Two:
    • Shortened UK Version "The Heritage of Adventure" 
    • "Scenes from the Far Fur Country" regional short films from the period:
      • "Baffin Region" 
      • "James Bay & Abitibi Region" 
      • "Prairie Region" 
      • "Athabasca Region" 
      • "BC Region" 
    • Additional Unedited Silent Films from the 1919 Expedition and 1920 Release:
      • "H.B. Pageant" 
      • "It's A Great Life --If" 
      • HBC Comics 
    • Trailer for "On The Trail of the Far Fur Country" 
  • 24-page Collector's Booklet
The two-disc set is available directly from The Winnipeg Film Group separately or in a combo with the documentary ON THE TRAIL OF THE FAR FUR COUNTRY.

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